Kotkhai rape-murder: Shimla court sends IG, 7 cops to 14-day judicial remand

After expiry of the three-day remand, CBI had filed an application seeking extension of the custody by four days, saying it was yet to recover Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) card, which is related to DNA tests.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2017 17:36 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kotkhai rape-murder,Shimla rape,CBI
Lower court judge Ranjit Singh Thakur heard the argument and ordered that next hearing will be through the video conferencing.(HT File)

Declining the plea of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for an extension in custody by four days, Shimla court on Thursday sent IG Zahur Zaidi and seven other cops to 14 days judicial custody. CBI had arrested cops in connection with custodial death of Suraj- accused in Gudiya rape and murder case.

After expiry of the three-day remand, CBI had filed an application seeking extension of the custody by four days, saying it was yet to recover Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) card, which is related to forensic investigation.

However, the defence counsel opposed the demand, stating that the earlier remand was granted to recover the baton and belt and now a new contention was being made. Lower court judge Ranjit Singh Thakur heard the argument. He also ordered that next hearing will be through the video conferencing.

CBI had arrested IG Zaidi, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Manoj Joshi, sub-inspector (SI) Rajinder Singh, assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Deep Chand Sharma, head constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal, Rafiq Ali and Ranjit Singh last Tuesday, and taken them to New Delhi.

A few days after the arrest, CBI summoned superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi, assistant superintendent of police (ASP) BD Negi, DSP Rattan Singh Negi to Delhi.

Initially, DSP Manoj Joshi was asked to investigate the Kotkhai rape case. The-then Shimla SP DW Negi was sent to the spot on July 7, a day after naked body of a minor school girl was found at Halaila forest in Kotkai of Shimla district. She had been allegedly gangraped.

CASE HISTORY

Unable to make any headway in the case, Shimla police constituted a special investigation team (SIT) on July 9.

On July 13, the SIT arrested six accused — Ashish Chauhan (29), Rajender Singh (32), Subhash Singh Bisht (42), Deepak alias Deepu (29) Suraj Singh (29) and Lok Jung (19). A day before the arrest, photographs of some youth, purportedly behind the case, went viral. The pictures were uploaded on Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s Facebook page, but were later removed.

Not satisfied with the arrests, locals had staged violent protests at Theog, demanding a CBI probe and accusing the SIT of shielding the real culprits. Alarmed by the situation, the Himachal government recommended a CBI probe in the case.

The case took another turn on July 18, when Suraj, one of the accused, was found murdered in police custody. Police claimed that he died due to a scuffle with another accusedm Rajender Singh. Infuriated, people torched the Kotkhai police station. The Himachal Pradesh high court handed-over investigation of both 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 Kotkhai case, and the other case under Section 302 (murder) for the custodialdeath of Nepalese national, Suraj.

CASE AGAINST SIT

After sentry Dinesh Kumar turned approver, the CBI recorded statements of all SIT members. Some members, however, did not cooperate during the investigation. Sources said they told CBI that the high court has asked them to file an affidavit, so they will depose before the probe agency only after that. The CBI counsel then moved a separate application in this regard.

Barring ASP Bhajan Dev Negi and DSP RS Negi, all other members of the SIT have been arrested by the CBI and charged under Section 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 17:07 IST