‘Dead’ CBI witness appears in court, very much alive

In an embarrassment to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the agency declared dead one of its own witnesses in Bihar and even submitted her death certificate to court. She was in fact alive. This is something that has never happened before in the agency’s history. 

The same witness, which the agency had declared dead, appeared at a court in Muzaffarpur, Bihar on Friday and proved that she was alive.

The agency had made the 84-year-old Badami Devi, a resident of Siwan, one of the prosecution witnesses in the sensational murder case of journalist Rajdev Ranjan of Hindustan Daily who was shot dead on 13 May 2016 allegedly by contract killers of former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin.

On 24 May 2022, it told the court of 1st Additional Session Judge cum Special Judge, MP, MLA, Muzafarrpur that is hearing the case, that Badami Devi had passed away and hence there was no need to issue summons in her name. The agency also submitted her death certificate.

However, on Friday, Devi, accompanied by her relatives, arrived at the court where she filed an affidavit that she was alive. Devi said in her affidavit that she was residing at the same house where the CBI had first approached her and made her a prosecution witness. She further stated that no one from the CBI contacted her before declaring her dead. The copy of the affidavit is available with this newspaper.

A stunned court of judge Puneet Kumar Garg, immediately issued a show cause notice to the CBI counsels asking the agency to file a reply by 20 June. An embarrassed legal team of CBI that was earlier led by Special Public Prosecutor Atul Kumar and then by RN Singh immediately left the courtroom.

The CBI spokesperson did not respond to this newspaper’s calls seeking a response from the agency on this development in the case of Azaharuddin Beig @ Laddan Miya and others vs The C.B.I.

“This recent development has put the premier agency in a poor light. We are confident that all my clients who have been implicated in the case will be released now,” Sinha told this newspaper. According to Sinha, Badami Devi submitted her photo, PAN card and voter I-card to prove she was the same person whom the CBI had made its witness.

The CBI had taken over the case in September 2016 after a four-month delay after the Bihar government ordering for a CBI probe in the case on 15 May.

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