Kotkhai custodial killing: HC grants bail to 6 accused
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday granted bail to six accused in the 2017 Kotkhai custodial killing case.
The custodial killing case is an offshoot of the rape and murder of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Kotkhai area of Shimla district. Initially, the Himachal Police arrested six men in the case, one of whom was later found dead at the Kotkhai Police Station in July 2017. Subsequently, a case of custodial killing was lodged against the cops.
After widespread criticism of the police’s handling of the case, it was handed over to the CBI and transferred to Chandigarh in May 2019.
Those granted bail are former Kotkhai station house officer (SHO) Rajinder Singh and other former cops Surat Singh, Mohan Lal, Rafiq Ali, Ranjit Streta and Deep Chand. They all are lodged in Model Jail, Chandigarh.
They had sought bail on grounds that they had been in custody for more than three years and they were in no position to influence witnesses.
It was also argued that then Shimla SSP DW Negi and then DSP Manoj Joshi were already on bail. Former inspector general of police ZH Zaidi was granted bail by the Supreme Court in April 2019. However, the trial court had cancelled the bail in January 2020 after prosecution witness and SP-rank officer Soumya Sambasivan’s statement that she had been pressured by the accused in an attempt to influence the trial.
CBI had opposed the bail plea claiming that witness examination was pending and the cops could influence the trial. However, the bench of justice Amol Rattan Singh on Wednesday decided to grant all six persons bail.
“The six persons have been given bail by the high court. Certain conditions have been imposed on them so that they are not able to influence the witnesses. Detailed order is awaited,” said CBI’s counsel Sumeet Goel.