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Kotkhai rape case: CBI brings arrested Himachal IG, 7 other cops to New Delhi

Inspector general Zahur Haidar Zaidi was leading the special investigation team looking into the rape and murder of a teenage girl in the Kotkhai area of Shimla in early July before the CBI took over the probe into the case.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2017 22:03 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Himachal Pradesh,Kotkhai rape case,Zahur Zaidi
Inspector general Zahur Haidar Zaidi of the SIT who was arrested by the CBI on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) brought Himachal Pradesh inspector general of police Zahur Zaidi and seven other policemen to New Delhi for further questioning on Wednesday, a day after their arrest in connection with the custodial death of a Nepalese man, a suspect in the rape and murder of a minor school girl in Shimla.

The CBI arrested Zaidi, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Manoj Joshi, Kotkhai police station in-charge Rajinder Singh, assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Deep Chand Sharma, head constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal, Rafiq Ali, and constable Ranjit Singh.

Zaidi was leading the special investigation team looking into the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in the Kotkhai area of Shimla in early July before the CBI took over the probe into the crime that shook the hill state and saw violent protests.

Sources in the CBI told the Hindustan Times the agency will move an application in the court for a polygraph test of the accused, especially Zaidi.

The agency, which has questioned more than 100 people, has not said anything about the role of the policemen in the death of the 29-year-old labourer, whose wife accused the police of framing her husband.

The central agency demanded additional vehicles on Tuesday evening from the state to transport all the accused, including Zaidi. The accused were produced in the CBI special court in Shimla and remanded to custody till September 4. They were also taken to the Indira Gandhi Medical College for medical examination and declared fit.

These policemen will be deemed suspended 48 hours after the arrest.

Initially, DSP Joshi was asked to investigate the Kotkhai case following which then Shimla superintendent of police DW Negi was sent to the spot on July 7, a day after the naked body of the girl was found in the forests near Halaila village.

The police constituted an SIT on July 9 after they were unable to make any headway in the case. On July 13, the SIT arrested six men—Ashish Chauhan (29), Rajender Singh (32), Subhash Singh Bisht (42), Deepak alias Deepu (29) Suraj Singh (29) and Lok Jung (19).

The photos of some of the men purportedly involved in the case went viral a day before their arrest. These pictures were even uploaded on chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s Facebook account but later removed.

Locals, who accused the police of botching investigations and said police had not arrested the real accused, staged a violent protest at Theog demanding a CBI probe and accusing the SIT of shielding the real culprits. Alarmed by the situation, the state government recommended a CBI probe on the same day.

The case took another turn on July 18, when Suraj, one of the accused, was found murdered inside the Kotkhai police station. The police claimed he died in a scuffle with another accused Rajender Singh. Infuriated people torched the Kotkhai police station and the Himachal Pradesh high court handed over the probe of both the cases to the CBI.

On July 22, the CBI registered two FIRs, one under Sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of the IPC, and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the case, and the other under Section 302 for the custodial death.

After sentry Dinesh Kumar turned an approver, the CBI recorded the statements of all the SIT members. Some of the members, however, did not cooperate during the investigations.

Sources said they told the CBI that the high court asked them to file an affidavit so they would depose before the probe agency only after that. The CBI counsel then moved a separate application.

Barring ASP Bhajan Dev Negi and DSP RS Negi, all the other members of the SIT have been arrested by the CBI.

They are likely to be charged under Section 302, 201 and 120 B of the IPC, but no official confirmation is available so far.

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 18:40 IST