No rape claim before SIT report in Hathras case raises doubts, say experts
The Uttar Pradesh police’s claim that forensic sampling and post-mortem examination of the 19-year-old Dalit woman of Hathras did not establish rape has raised questions about the authenticity of the two reports as the assertion has been made before completion of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe, said forensic and legal experts. The deadline for the SIT probe ends on October 7.
The Hathras woman was allegedly gang-raped and brutally tortured on September 14. She succumbed to her injuries at Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital on Tuesday.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday had set-up the three-member SIT to probe the Hathras incident, they have been asked to submit the report in seven days. The SIT is headed by home secretary Bhagwan Swaroop. Its two other members are deputy inspector general Chandra Prakash and Commandant, PAC Agra, Poonam (who goes by one name).
Social activist and lawyer Nutan Thakur said it was highly objectionable that police officials were denying rape when the investigation was still underway. It showed the premeditated attitude of the police investigators, she alleged.
Thakur said senior police officials should properly analyse the facts before jumping to any conclusion during the course of the investigation in such a serious offence. She also questioned the delay in collecting samples for forensic examination as it could change the line of investigation.
“Moreover, the victim’s statement recorded before death, during which she had alleged sexual assault, is crucial to the investigation,” she said.
The statement denying rape also suggested that the police were trying to put pressure on the victim’s family, she alleged.
A Lucknow-based senior forensic expert, requesting anonymity, questioned whether the victim’s sample was collected within a certain time period to ascertain whether she had been subjected to sexual assault.
He asked whether the police preserved other evidence, like the clothes that the victim was wearing at the time of the crime and samples of her nails, as there was the maximum possibility that these could establish if she had been sexually assaulted or not.
It is not yet confirmed whether the police preserved other evidence, like clothes and samples of her nails.
“The state police have always lacked in forensic evidence of sexual assault,” he stated, questioning the police efficiency in handling such serious cases.
He said DNA of semen would not be detected if the vaginal swab was collected a week after the rape or sexual assault. In this particular case, the sample was collected 10 days after the alleged rape on September 14, he added.
He said the presence of semen on clothes could be detected lifelong.
Additional director general (law and order) Prashant Kumar had stated that the samples for forensic examination were collected when the victim spoke about sexual assault at an Aligarh hospital and they (the samples) were sent to the Agra forensic science laboratory on September 25.
On Thursday, ADG Kumar and Hathras district magistrate Praveen Kumar had denied rape on the basis of post-mortem examination and the report from Agra forensic science laboratory (FSL).
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