Kotkhai rape and murder: CBI custody of IG, seven cops extended till September 7
The CBI said that it is yet to recover the danda (stick) and patta (belt) for which the custody is required.Updated: Sep 05, 2017 16:31 IST
The Shimla court has extended the police custody of inspector general of police (IG) Zahur Zaidi and seven other cops, arrested last week for the custodial death of Suraj, an accused in the Kotkhai rape and murder case, by three days, till September 7, here on Monday.
After the completion of seven-day remand, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an application seeking extension of the custody by a week. The CBI said that it is yet to recover the danda (stick) and patta (belt) for which the custody is required.
However, the defence counsel has opposed the demand of CBI stating that the recovery of these items can be made even without keeping the cops in custody. Different defence counsels engaged by the accused said that the CBI took them to New Delhi and then on Sunday, they were taken to Kotkhai. Trial court judge Ranjit Singh Thakur heard the argument.
The 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 took them to New Delhi. 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 the naked body of the minor school girl was found at Halaila forest in Kotkai of Shimla district.
Unable to make any headway in the case, Shimla police had 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 chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s Facebook page, but were later removed.
Not satisfied with the arrests, the locals 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 accused Rajender Singh. Infuriated by this, 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 custodial death 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).