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Probe flays lax Noida policemen

The UP Govt probe into Nithari case gives strong proof of cops' apathy, report Sobhana K and A Bhalla.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 13:09 IST

"Mr Rathore has committed a grave mistake and it shows his negligence and dereliction of duty. For this, we recommend major punishment against him."

"Mr Dinesh Yadav’s negligence is apparent and for this, minor punishment is recommended against him."

A hush-hush Uttar Pradesh government inquiry into the Nithari serial killings case provides clinching evidence that currently serving officers avoided taking action when the children began to disappear. The interim and final reports of the inquiry are available with Hindustan Times.

Despite the adverse findings, no action has been taken by the state government against RKS Rathore, the senior superintendent of police, Noida, and Dinesh Yadav, the Noida circle officer. Both repeatedly turned away grieving parents.

At least seven lives could have been saved had they acted in time, says the report dated January 5, confirming HT’s own previously reported investigation.

And yet, the inquiry itself seems to have been half-hearted.

The government’s decision to dismiss six officers and suspend three others – while sparing the current police chief, Rathore – was taken in great haste. The inquiry team finished its rushed interviews at Nithari at about 3:30 pm on January 3 and flew to Lucknow at once. At about 8:30 pm, the suspensions were announced from Lucknow.

At that point, the investigators could not have known all the facts. They did not even meet Nand Lal, whose May 2006 complaint lies at the heart of the Nithari case. His petition about the disappearance of his daughter Payal unravelled the scandal.

The interim report makes no mention of Payal’s disappearance and death. Her father’s complaint on May 8 last year, made the first formal mention of the main suspects, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surendra Koli. But Yadav lodged a First Information Report only five months later on the orders of a magistrate.

The report indicts Yadav — for many, the man mainly responsible for the police’s bungling at Nithari — but takes an unusually soft line against him. It says: “During his tenure, three people under 18 years and one over 18 went missing, and were confirmed dead … four others went missing during his tenure, but missing reports were not lodged.”

Despite this, the inquiry says: “After the FIR, he worked with great dedication and helped unravel the case. Yadav was praised by the families of missing children.”

But the inquiry team did not even meet all the families, interviewing only seven of the 17 whose members had been confirmed dead.

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First Published: Jan 30, 2007 03:02 IST