Accused in Dalit girl case tried to destroy proof: Cops
- The main accused and his three alleged accomplices also tried to bribe the victim’s mother and father and offered them ₹20,000 to stifle the charges, the police charge sheet added, quoting statements from the victim’s parents.
A priest accused of raping and killing a nine-year-old Dalit girl near Delhi cantonment on August 1 tried to destroy evidence by throwing his phone and the victim’s footwear and bedding into the pyre built to forcibly cremate her, said Delhi Police in its charge sheet.
The main accused and his three alleged accomplices also tried to bribe the victim’s mother and father and offered them ₹20,000 to stifle the charges, the police charge sheet added, quoting statements from the victim’s parents.
“….all four accused threatened the parents of the deceased and by taking advantage of their poverty, illiteracy and their affiliation to an oppressed section of society, they managed to oppress their thought process and forcefully cremated the deceased,” read the charge sheet, filed by police on August 28. HT has seen the document.
The Dalit girl was found dead in a crematorium near Purani Nangal village on August 1, sparking protests by activists and politicians. Days later, police arrested the main accused, 55-year-old Radhey Shyam and his three associates, Kuldeep Singh, Salim Ahmed and Laxmi Narayan.
“Accused Radhey Shyam threw his own mobile phone (that also had porn content), bedding of the takht (Where he and Kuldeep raped deceased) and foot wear of the deceased in the burning pyre of the deceased. The traces of the mobile phone have been found in the ash lifted by the forensic team from the pyre of the deceased,” the police said in its charge sheet.
The charge sheet accuses the four people of rape, wrongful confinement, murder, destruction of evidence, and under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act.
On September 9, a local Delhi court took cognisance of the charge sheet, summoning the accused on September 29.
In its charge sheet, the police, quoting the statement of the mother given to the magistrate, said that an alleged middleman, identified as Naresh, offered the victim’s family a bribe of ₹20,000 and also threatened them. The document also said the victim’s parents were confined to the crematorium and not allowed to go anywhere, and also threatened.
The police, quoting the mother’s initial statement to the police, said that Shyam used to take massages from the girl and give her ₹10 in exchange.
According to the document, the mother also alleged that she was called by Shyam through an e-rickshaw driver on August 1 and when she went to the crematorium, she found the accused cooking non-vegetarian food and drinking alcohol in the hall with iron shutters. The footwear (chappal) of her daughter was also lying in the hall, the mother’s statement said.
Police said the mother alleged that she wanted to touch and check the body of her daughter but Shyam did not let her. Shyam told her that the girl has to be cremated else it would become a police case and doctors would take out all her organs, according to the mother’s statement.
The police said the accused tried to stage the death as electrocution and threw water on the clothes of the child.
The accused say the girl died of electrocution while fetching water from a cooler. The girl’s family alleged that the suspects hurriedly cremated the body after raping her. The police also maintained that the death did not take place due to electrocution and instead the girl child was suffocated by Shyam to death during the sexual assault.
Advocate LK Verma, who represents Shyam, called the police’s investigation “tainted” and said that the probe has not been done in a proper manner.
On September 17, HT reported that police told a city court that the girl died due to “suffocation” during the sexual assault, citing disclosure statements of two accused -- Ahmed and Narayan -- in the case.
To be sure, a confession or disclosure statement of any person made before a police officer is not admissible as evidence before a court unless it is backed by other evidence.
Only a confession before a judge is admissible as evidence against an accused.
However, documents reviewed by HT revealed that the disclosure statements of Ahmed and Narayan were corroborated by the Forensic Science Lab (FSL) and post mortem (PM) reports, which also ruled out death due to electrocution.