Year later, Himachal rape-murder victim’s father seeks justice

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Shimla, July 6 (IANS) Seeking justice for his teenaged daughter who was gang-raped and murdered in Himachal Pradesh a year ago, her father on Friday raised questions over the CBI investigations into the case so far.

“Some rich people are involved in the crime and the CBI is shielding them,” the man told reporters here.

“The CBI has so far arrested one person. How is it possible that a single person is involved in such a heinous crime,” he asked.

The distraught family urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and order a fresh probe into the shocking crime in which the 16-year-old schoolgirl was sexually assaulted and then murdered.

Her body was found in a forest near Kotkhai town on July 6, two days after her disappearance. The crime had led to arson by a mob demanding justice for the girl.

Flanked by a handful of sympathisers holding copies of book titled ‘Gudiya — Unsuni Cheekh’, the girl’s father and others formed a chain at the historic Ridge here under Mahatma Gandhi’s statue.

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The 115-page book is a collection of poems and stories, brought out by the Madad Seva Trust of Shimla.

The CBI probe is still silent on several missing links in the case, said the father, who preferred to hide his face behind the book.

He said the agency had failed to trace her missing socks and hair clips.

“Her body was dumped in a forest after the crime. The police recovered the body two days after her disappearance. There was no mud on her body. How is it possible since it was raining heavily on that day? Even no wild animal had attacked her,” he said.

Both the gang-rape case and subsequent custodial death of one of the persons branded an accused by police are being monitored by the Himachal High Court and investigated by the CBI.

The CBI had arrested a woodcutter, Anil Kumar alias Nilu, and claimed he acted alone in committing the crime.

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“Nilu could be involved in dumping the body. But more people are involved in the crime. Why have they gone scot-free?” he told IANS, with moist eyes.

After the crime, police had claimed that the schoolgirl was offered a lift in a vehicle by one of the accused on July 4 last year while she was returning home from school in Kotkhai town, 56 km from here.

On the way, the accused and his accomplices gang-raped and murdered her in a nearby forest. Her naked body with injury marks was found two days later.

Those arrested were prime accused Rajinder Singh, who offered her the lift, Ashish Chauhan, Subhash Bisht, Deepak Kumar, Suraj Singh (now deceased) and Lokjan.

The case took a twist after Rajinder allegedly murdered Suraj in police lock-up on July 19.

Later, the state government agreed to recommend a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

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After the CBI took over, nine policemen, including Inspector General of Police Z.H. Zaidi and former Shimla Superintendent of Police D.W. Negi, were arrested on charge of custodial death of Suraj. They are still in judicial custody and the CBI has filed a chargesheet against them.

Zaidi was head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up to probe the case before the CBI took over.

The CBI, which arrested Nilu on April 13 this year, said he was the lone accused while those arrested by the Himachal Police were not involved. Charges against them were dropped.

The CBI, on May 29, submitted a fresh status report against Nilu in the High Court. Later, a 28-page chargesheet with statements of over 60 witnesses was also filed in the trial court.

The chargesheet claimed the accused raped the girl and murdered her on July 4, 2017, the day she went missing.

–IANS

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