Justice Siddharth Mridul made the observation after the SIT probing the matter told the court that though it has identified the officers, it was looking into the merit of the allegations as well as medical records to ascertain what role was played by each of them before taking any of them into custody.

"What do you (police) normally do when someone loses their life? Do you look at the merits of the case or medical records before taking persons involved into custody? What is this? A banana republic?” it added.

"What kind of investigation are you conducting? I get the impression that investigation thus far has focused on exonerating those involved. The investigation appears to be focused on how to get them off the hook," the court told DCP Rajiv Sharma, who is heading the special investigating team (SIT).

The court was also displeased at one of the senior officers of the SIT who did not take steps for recording the statement of an eyewitness despite that person calling the officer several times to give his testimony.

It also noted in its order that the eyewitness had called ACP Sukhwinder Singh after a public notice was put out by SIT inviting information from the people. "It is an admitted position that despite having made the calls, SIT did not record his (eyewitness) statement...," it said.

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