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    Hathras case: CBI re-registers the case; time lapse poses a challenge

    Synopsis

    The probe will be headed by Seema Pahuja, a deputy superintendent-level officer from the CBI’s Ghaziabad unit, who had earlier handled the controversial rape case of a minor girl in Himachal Pradesh.

    Agencies
    Officials said chances of finding forensic evidence at the spot were remote four weeks after the incident .
    New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation faces a challenging task ahead after taking over the Hathras case on Sunday, four weeks after the alleged gang rape that left a 19-year-old girl dead. The CBI has re-registered the case with charges of gang-rape and murder. The probe will be headed by Seema Pahuja, a deputy superintendent-level officer from the CBI’s Ghaziabad unit, who had earlier handled the controversial rape case of a minor girl in Himachal Pradesh. She will accompany a team from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to the Bulgarhi village in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district and seek custody from the court of the four accused to interrogate them.

    The UP Police that had filed the initial case had never sought custody of the four accused from the court, and had sent them to jail on the day of their arrest. While the main accused, Sandeep, was arrested on September 20, six days after the alleged rape, the other three were arrested during September 23-27. Also, no woman police officer was made in-charge of the initial probe as mandated in rape cases, because the UP Police did not treat it as a rape case until a week after the incident. The investigating officer of the UP Police in the case is a male officer, deputy SP Yogesh Kumar, as per the FIR available now.

    The mother of the victim may be asked by the CBI to give a statement before a magistrate as she is a key witness, those in the know have told ET. The girl’s dying statement on September 22, alleging gang rape by the four accused, is expected to be the CBI’s mainstay evidence as police did not ask for the immediate medical examination of the victim within 72 hours as mandated under law. The CBI will examine the autopsy report from Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, and the medical examination reports from the state forensic science laboratory and an Aligarh hospital where the victim was initially admitted before she was shifted to Delhi.

    Officials said chances of finding forensic evidence at the spot were remote four weeks after the incident and more than 10 days after the body was cremated. According to the UP Police’s FIR, only one person, Sandeep had tried to strangulate the victim in the fields. He had run away after the girl’s mother reached the spot after hearing her cries, it said. The girl, in a statement recorded on video on the day of the incident, said Sandeep had tried to do “zabardasti” (attempted rape) with her before strangulating her. The CBI will record the statements of all the concerned police personnel of the Chandpa police station, who were later suspended, and villagers who had rushed to the spot after the victim’s mother had raised an alarm.

    The UP government had issued an order on October 4 for the CBI probe, a day after chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced the same. The matter remained pending with the central government for six days. Meanwhile, the UP Police will continue to probe another case it has lodged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, alleging criminal conspiracy to trigger caste riots after the Hathras incident.
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    2 Comments on this Story

    Devidas Telakat46 days ago
    The Limitation Act will not survive Art 13 filter for abridging Art 14.
    Subbu India46 days ago
    Don't think CBI will be able to do much in Hathras.
    The Economic Times