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Himachal SIT cooked up evidence in rape and murder of Kotkhai teen: CBI

Custodial torture resulted in death of the Nepalese national falsely implicated in case, says CBI’s chargesheet.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2017 22:22 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kotkhai rape,Himachal Pradesh,Kotkhai rape case
Widespread protests rocked the hill state after the rape and murder of the Class 10 student, whom the state media and locals gave the name Gudiya. (HT File Photo)

A Himachal Pradesh police special investigation team (SIT) cooked up evidence to falsely implicate a Nepalese man and four others in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl at Kotkhai in July, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The central probe agency has also accused the SIT, headed by inspector general of police (IG) Zahur Zaidi, of a cover-up following the death of the Nepalese national, Suraj Singh, in police custody on July 18.

The accusations against the SIT are a part of the CBI’s chargesheet filed before Shimla district court on November 25.

“After the formation of the SIT, inspector general (IG) Zahur Zaidi, the then Shimla superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi, Theog deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Manoj Joshi and other accused police officers entered into a criminal conspiracy to falsely implicate Suraj Singh and others in the Kotkhai rape and murder case,” reads the CBI’s chargesheet.

The CBI has so far arrested nine police officers, including Zaidi, Negi and Joshi, in the case.

According to the chargesheet, the SIT arrested Singh and four others on July 13 — a week after the girl’s body was found — even though there was no evidence against them.

The CBI also noted that Singh was tortured to “extract” a confession, and another man was forced at gunpoint to admit to his involvement in the crime.

After taking over probe following a Himachal Pradesh high court order, the CBI re-examined Singh’s body in the presence of experts from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, on July 25. The report revealed Singh’s injuries were sustained in time intervals ranging from about two days to two hours prior to his death.

“The injuries produced on Suraj’s body were sustained by a blunt hard cylindrical object such as ‘lathi’. The medical board also rules out the possibility of sustaining injury in a scuffle with another individual,” states the chargesheet.

On alleged destruction of evidence related to Singh’s death, the chargesheet states the SIT “made false entries in the police records and also submitted false and fabricated reports” to the state police chief that another man, Rajinder, they had arrested in the case “killed Suraj in the lock up at Kotkhai police station”.

The four others arrested in the case are out on bail.

Widespread protests rocked the hill state after the rape and murder of the Class 10 student, whom the state media and locals gave the name Gudiya.

After Singh’s death, locals set fire to Kotkhai police station and accused the police of protecting the actual culprits who raped and killed the teenager.

The girl did not return from school on July 4. Her naked body was found two days later in the woods at Halaila in Kotkhai, around 60 km from state capital Shimla.

The girl’s death became a big talking point in the run-up to the November 9 elections in the state.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 22:20 IST