Taking over investigations into the May 28 incident in Badaun where two girls were found hanging from a mango tree after being allegedly raped, the CBI on Saturday questioned a doctor of the three-member team which conducted the post-mortem examination.
Last week, Uttar Pradesh DGP A L Banerjee said one of the two girls, who were cousins, “may not have been raped” and that they were hanged after their death. This appeared to contradict the post-mortem reports, which stated that “perineal findings were suggestive of rape” and cause of death was “asphyxia from ante mortem hanging”.
The CBI officers questioned Dr Pushpa Pant Tripathi of the gynaecology department of Badaun hospital, the only woman in the post-mortem panel, to understand the apparent contradictions.
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The three-member team comprised a physician, a surgeon and a gynaecologist. No forensic medicine specialist was in the team.
Sources said the gynaecologist gave details of “physical evidence”, including genital injuries, which led to the conclusion of the girls being raped, and post-mortem staining in the body which confirmed death after hanging. She is said to have told the CBI team that no external injuries were found on the bodies of the girls. A video of the post-mortem proceedings was submitted to the CBI team.
The CBI also questioned the Uttar Pradesh SIT and the then Circle Officer Ganga Singh Yadav. The SIT, sources said, told the CBI about a possible third location, near a mint patch, in the sequence of events on May 27 evening when the girls went missing.
This third spot was brought to SIT notice earlier this week when the main accused was taken to the village to help the police reconstruct the incident.
“He was first taken to his uncle’s house where he slept that night, then to his own home. He took police to a spot near the fields owned by the girls’ family, beneath a tree where eyewitness Babu Ram claimed he saw the accused dragging the girls. He confirmed he had a scuffle with Babu Ram but says the latter left with the girls thereafter,” a source said.
“The accused said he used to meet the older of the two girls, who was his friend, near the mint patch. It is not very far from the field owned by her family. He claimed he was returning that evening with the girl and her cousin when Babu Ram spotted them and confronted them. He said he ran home after the scuffle and did not inform his family,” the source said.
Another source said the main accused told police that the girl had asked him to meet her near the mint patch because she wanted to plan a visit to a fair near the village. The source said the accused did not take the police to a patch of eucalyptus trees where a police forensic team reportedly found some evidence, including broken bangles and beer bottles, last week. He did not even take the police to the mango tree where the girls were found hanging.
But Babu Ram, the main witness in the case, and the kin of the girls deny these claims. “Our girls were killed and now they are trying to malign us, I ran for my life because he threatened me with a gun, otherwise I would have saved the girls. There were four-five other people dragging the girls, but I only saw him in the torch light,” Babu Ram said.
“I want justice for my girls. Babu Ram was helping us look for them. My daughter was never friends with the main accused. She hardly left home, she would have never asked him to meet her. These are lies. We hope the CBI will help us,” the father of the older of the two girls said.
In the next few days, the CBI team is expected to visit Katra Sadatganj village, inspect the spot where the accused and the eyewitness had a scuffle, visit the home of the accused and meet the kin of the two girls.