October 22, 2017

Kotkhai case – CBI to submit status report in HC today

The progress of a probe into the Kotkhai minor rape and murder case and custodial death of an the accused in the police lock-up will be known tomorrow as the CBI, which registered two cases on July 22, following the directions of the High Court, will submit its status report in the court. CBI teams questioned over 100 persons, including family members of the victim and accused, local people, classmates and teachers of the victim, and shared the inputs of state forensic experts. The crime spot and the Haliala forest were inspected to collect the evidence. The CBI had re-examined the body of Suraj, who was allegedly killed by Raju, another accused in the case, in the Kotkhai police lock-up. The CBI had taken the custody of five accused, who were later sent to the judicial custody, quizzed the Nepali labourers living near the spot of crime, an old orchardist, shopkeepers and also interacted with the school administration. Reportedly, the CBI has found some loose ends in the police investigations and is awaiting the forensic reports. Meanwhile, public anger against the government and police over the case and custodial death has subsided but the social media is flooded with protests against the crime and petitions seeking justice for the minor victim. Rachana Chauhan, a Kotkhai resident living in Australia, launched an online petition three weeks back, seeking an impartial CBI inquiry into the case, fair trial, better security for women and crackdown on drugs and alcohol abuse. She has received support of 8,573 persons. The petition titled, “16-year-old girl gang-raped in Himachal. Stop rising drug and alcohol abuse in the state,” said, “To lose a loved one is devastating. To lose a loved one to rape and murder is horrific. To be denied justice causes unimaginable pain”. Another petition started by the Gudiya Nyaya Manch on July 30 has got 436 signatures in support of the cause. The petition, addressed to the President of India, seeks justice for the girl and action against erring policemen.However, the locals in Kotkhai question why the suspects, whose photographs were uploaded on the Facebook page of the Chief Minister, have not come out in open. “If someone is innocent, he should not fear anything and raise his voice and tell truth in the presence of Devta,” said an elderly man.

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