The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the city police for not recording the statement of the owner of car in which the body the seven-year old girl Yogita Thakre was found last month.
Hearing a criminal writ petition, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death from the victim's parents, a Division Bench, consisting of Justice AP Lavande and Justice PB Warale said that the police should also take
information about the duplicate keys to the car in which Yogita's body was found. The judges also sought to know how the girl was able to enter the car when it had central locking.
The court also criticised the city police for making regular press statements, rather than concentrating more on the investigation. It directed the police to record the statement of the owner of the car, the state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, immediately.
The government pleader Nitin Sambre, appearing for the state, said that the driver, in his statement, had told the police that the car's central locking system was not working properly. It was possible that one of the doors had remained unlocked even after the central locking had been activated on the fateful day, the driver said in his statement, Sambre said.
The counsel also placed before the court the latest forensic report from Government Medical College and Hospital, Nagpur, which has ruled out the possibility of rape and murder. Counsel for the petitioners then sought time from the court to file a reply. The judges posted the case for hearing on June 18.
It was on Tuesday evening, just a day before the court hearing, the commissioner of police (CP), Pravin Dxit ruled out any foul play in the death of Yogita, in a hurriedly convened press conference. Surprisingly, it was the city police that registered an offence of murder case against unidentified accused last week by correcting its earlier move to register a
case of accidental death.
While claiming that the victim was not raped, Dixit cited the fresh forensic report that also ruled out homicide. “We have already received a fresh post mortem report and chemical analysis report that did not mention any sexual
assault on the victim,” he added.
The body of the seven-year old girl was found in a mysterious circumstance in the car of the state BJP chief Nitin Gadkari at his Mahal residence on May 19 evening. The BJP leader’s two sons were at home when the body was discovered by the driver, Manohar Panse. Gadkari was on a flight to Nagpur at that time while his wife Kanchan was at Ramtek, some 50 kms from Nagpur during the period.
However, the girl's parents, Ashok and Vimal Thakre, have alleged that their daughter was sexually assaulted and then choked to death, but have not named any suspects.
They later moved the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court seeking a CBI probe.