The Himachal Pradesh government on Friday decided to hand over the investigation into the Shimla schoolgirl’s rape and murder to the CBI. The announcement came amid a five-hour protest when a mob threw stones and ringed Shimla SP D W Negi at Theog, about 30 km from the scene of crime in Kotkhai, Shimla district.
The violence damaged four police vehicles, including Negi’s official car. Chief Secretary V C Pharka conveyed the decision of the government to the sub-divisional magistrate of Theog, Tashi Sandup, over phone and he later announced to the protesting crowd, in the presence of Chopal BJP MLA Balbir Verma, about the government’s decision to hand over the probe to the CBI. The administration’s release said the “government orders CBI probe” in the rape and murder.
Earlier in the morning, a large crowd of students, lawyers, traders and activists went on the rampage at Theog Bazar, their anger directed at the police. On Wednesday, the police had suggested that the suspects were from families of well-to-do orchard owners. But when the arrests were announced on Thursday, five of the six accused were orchard hands. A sixth accused is the son of an orchard owner, but the police said his presence at the crime scene could not be established.
The difference in the details given out over two days perpetuated a doubt that the police had shielded some people. “We are not satisfied with the SIT action and the arrest of a few poor workers. The real culprits… have to be arrested,” Verma said. The mob dispersed after the chief secretary spoke to the MLA.