Suspended IGP Zaidi denied physical hearing in Kotkhai custodial death case
Accused instated they were not ready for the trial at this stage due the Covid-19 pandemic.Updated: Nov 20, 2020, 00:42 IST
The special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chandigarh, on Thursday, disposed of the application moved by suspended inspector general of police (IGP) Zahur Haider Zaidi seeking physical hearing of the Kotkhai custodial death case.
Zaidi, who was investigating the rape and murder of a schoolgirl at Kotkhai when he was put on trial for the death in custody an accused in the case, had moved the application for legal proceedings to continue in the presence of the accused in the court.
The investigating agency had given its consent but four accused in the custodial death case, including Mohan Lal, Surat Singh(both in custody), DW Negi and Manoj Joshi (both on bail) stated they were not ready for a trial at this stage due the Covid-19 pandemic.
The CBI court then disposed of the petition citing the Punjab and Haryana high court and district court order citing that consent of all parties was a must for a physical hearing.
On October 16, the district and sessions judge of the Chandigarh district court had passed the order that for physical hearing of cases the consent of all the parties was a must. He directed “that physical appearance of advocates in cases wherein both the advocates have consented, thereto can be heard physically in criminal trials , where accused is/are in custody.”
The last witness in the case was examined over nine months ago on January 24, with prosecution evidence scheduled next. The case is now fixed for December 3.
The case dates back to July 2017 when four men from Nepal and two from Uttarakhand were arrested for the alleged rape and murder of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Shimla’s Kotkhai in Himachal Pradesh.
The girl was reported missing on July 4, 2017, and the six men were arrested 10 days later. Suraj Singh, one of the suspects, was found dead in custody of the Kotkhai police station on the intervening night of July 18 and 19, 2017.
The trial in the custodial death case had started in the special CBI court on June 6 against nine police officials, including IGP Zaidi, who was head of the special investigation team probing the minor girl’s rape and murder.