September 16, 2021 6:03:46 am
Hours after the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday pulled up the UP Police for its investigation into the death of 16-year-old girl at a government school in Mainpuri in 2019 and summoned the Director General of Police on Thursday, the state government suspended two police officers — Additional Superintendent of Police Om Prakash Singh and Circle Officer Prayank Jain — who were posted in the district when the incident took place.
Expressing displeasure over the manner of investigation and the lack of action against then district police chief, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Anil Kumar Ojha sought clarification from the DGP and members of the SIT (Special Investigation Team), which was formed to investigate the case.
The court also observed that despite the seriousness shown by it to the case, no follow-up action was taken and the DGP was even not briefed about it.
DGP Mukul Goel, who was earlier summoned by the court, was present in the court on Wednesday.
The court also asked why disciplinary action against the then Mainpuri Superintendent of Police could not be completed before his retirement.
The case dates back to September 16, 2019, when a Class XII student of a government school was found hanging under mysterious circumstances in her hostel room in Mainpuri. A day later, police filed a case of murder and attempt to rape against three persons – the woman principal, the hostel warden and a classmate of the girl.
The post-mortem report stated that the death occurred due to asphyxia due to ante-mortem hanging. The girl’s family had alleged that a student had tried to rape her and then killed her. Police had then denied the sexual assault charge, and claimed that girl had hanged herself and a purported “suicide note” was recovered from her room in which she stated that she was upset over an incident that took place three years ago when she was punished for allegedly stealing snacks from a hostel inmate’s bag.
The same month, the state government sent a letter to the Centre recommending a CBI investigation into the death case. The CBI, however, didn’t take over the probe.
Nearly three months after the incident, the government removed the then Mainpuri Superintendent of Police Ajay Shankar Rai and formed a three-member SIT to investigate the case. During the last hearing on September 14 this year, the court noted that the interrogation of those accused named in the FIR was held almost three months after the incident.
The court also said that the investigating officer in the case could not explain to the Bench about the delay in interrogating the accused.
The court also took note that the disciplinary inquiry against the then Mainpuri Superintendent of Police was not completed before his retirement. Rai retired from police services last December.
Late Wednesday evening, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi said that Additional Superintendent of Police Om Prakash Singh and Circle Officer Prayank Jain have been suspended with immediate effect. Both were posted in Mainpuri when the girl had died. At present, Singh is posted in Etah, while Jain is posted in Bhadohi.
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