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Cops failed to cue initial leads in Palsora girl's rape-murder case

Investigation in the case where an 11-year-old girl was found dead in a gunny bag on December 1 near Palsora, is a classic example of how the city police cluelessly carried out investigations

punjab Updated: Jan 29, 2014 11:10 IST

Investigation in the case where an 11-year-old girl was found dead in a gunny bag on December 1 near Palsora, is a classic example of how the city police cluelessly carried out investigations even though the victim's father had from the very beginning pointed towards the role of Sunita, who later turned out to be the main accused. However, the police had initially let her off after initial questioning.

About a week back, the police claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of two drug addicts, who were arrested for the murder of an ATM guard at Dera Bassi. Anirudh and Raja were nabbed by the cyber cell of the Chandigarh Police in connection with the minor's murder on January 19, after their call records and location during the crime occurrence coincided. The cyber cell had got them on production warrant regarding an ATM fraud, and during interrogation their location was traced to Palsora and then they admitted that they were related to girl's murder in Palsora.

Even though the case was being investigated by the crime branch, the cyber cell claimed to get first leads, after more than a month had lapsed since the girl had been killed.

The inquiry into the case also brought to fore that the accused took around the minor in an auto in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar without being noticed by the police. She was never kept in the forest area and was allegedly assaulted in her neighbourhood.
The enmity between neighbours Sunita and the victim's mother is being cited as the reason behind the crime. Sunita in order to take revenge from the minor's mother planned her kidnapping.

UT IGP RP Upadhyaya said, "The investigations in the case are on and facts would come clear once the chargesheet is filed."
DSP (crime) Satbir Singh said the arrests were being made after zeroing-in on the accused based on investigations.

What investigations reveal
Sunita: the mastermind
Victim's neighbour Sunita, 30, planned the entire kidnapping to take revenge from her mother as both had a personal enmity. Sunita contacted one Bhagat for getting the kidnapping executed and to hire two persons for the task. She also arranged for the auto for kidnapping the girl.

Bhagat: accomplice
Palsora resident Bhagat alias Manga (35), a drug addict, contacted Anirudh and Raja, who used to stay in the jungle area near Palsora. Initially, Bhagat contacted the two accused without even knowing about what work Sunita would assign to them. The two accused were later told by Bhagat that a girl has to be picked up for which they would be paid.

Anirudh and Raja
Police sources claim that Anirudh and Raja came with Sunita, Bhagat and auto driver Gora to lift the girl from Palsora. Both, however, denied sexually assaulting the girl. They kept moving the girl from one place to other in the auto for two days before strangulating her.

Auto driver Gora
Though the auto used in the crime has been found, police are yet to arrest the auto driver who actually drove around the vehicle for two days in Chandigarh and SAS Nagar as the girl was not kept in any forest area as told by police earlier. The police recovered the auto from SAS Nagar.

Nov 27: A minor kidnapped from near her house after being told that her mother was waiting in the auto around 6 pm. All five accused were in the auto. At night, Sunita along with the girl, Bhagat and Gora came back to Palsora. Anirudh and Raja were sent back. The police claim that minor was probably sexually assaulted at Sunita's house.

Nov 28: Around 4 am, Gora, Bhagat, Anirudh and Raja take minor with them. They took her to Phase 7 in SAS Nagar, ISBT- 43, colony number 5, Sectors 27 and 28. Minor was also drugged.
Nov 29: Sunita asks them to keep the girl away from Palsora as there was uproar to search her. The four kept shuttling her between Chandigarh and SAS Nagar and also stopped at Dussehra Ground in SAS Nagar by drawing down the curtains of the auto the entire time. In the evening, Sunita asked them to kill the girl. They strangled her with a rope around 9 pm in SAS Nagar and packed her off in a gunny bag. They threw the body near Sector 56.
December 1: Body recovered in the bag.

Unanswered questions
Why police initially didn't arrest Sunita when the victim's father had alleged that she was behind the crime?
Both Anirudh and Raja were staying in Palsora even after committing the crime. Why police couldn't apprehend them, if they were doing door-to-door search?
Minor was shuttled in the auto for two days between Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. How could they escape police attention?

First Published: Jan 29, 2014 10:57 IST