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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Manipuri girl rape case: New SIT begins probe, recreates crime scene

The state government formed the new SIT — within a span of two years — after being pulled up by the Allahabad High Court over the manner of investigation into the case.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow |
Updated: September 20, 2021 2:17:06 am
The SIT team has also planned to question all the persons whose statements had been recorded by the first SIT and the local police and is also in the process of examining all the evidence collected earlier.

Day after a new Special Investigation Team (SIT), set up to investigate the alleged rape and murder of a class XI student of a government school in Mainpuri in 2019, launched its probe in the case, the sleuths on Sunday recreated the crime scene.

Headed by Additional Director General, Kanpur Zone, Bhanu Bhaskar, the SIT visited the spot in Mainpuri where the incident took place. The team has also planned to question all the persons whose statements had been recorded by the first SIT and the local police and is also in the process of examining all the evidence collected earlier.

“The new SIT team, which has been camping in Mainpuri for the last two days has begun its investigation into the case,” said a senior police officer.

The state government formed the new SIT — within a span of two years — after being pulled up by the Allahabad High Court over the manner of investigation into the case. The new SIT also includes two Inspector Generals (IG) — GK Goswamy and Mohit Agarwal — Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Rakesh and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Tanu Upadhyay.

Goswamy is IG Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), while Agarwal is IG, Kanpur Range. Rakesh is posted in the Special Task Force (STF), while Upadhyay is posted in Kanpur Dehat.

In December 2019, the state government had formed a three-member SIT led by Mohit Agarwal to probe the girl’s death. The other two members were then Superintendent of Police, Mainpuri, Ajay Kumar and DySP (STF) Shyamakant. The team had failed to reach any conclusion despite conducting a polygraph test and DNA profiling of several persons, including school staff as well as students.

The old SIT had also recorded statements of around 100 suspects, including school teachers, staff and the victim’s relatives who used to visit her at the school hostel regularly and stay in touch with her over phone.

Once the Allahabad High Court took cognizance of the case, the state government suspended three police officers — ASP Om Prakash Singh, DySP Prayank Jain and the first investigating officer of the case, Inspector Pahup Singh. OP Singh and Prayank Jain were posted in Mainpuri when the incident took place. The new SIT has been mandated to complete the
investigation in six weeks.

The case dates back to September 17, 2019 when Mainpuri police filed a case of murder and attempt to rape against three persons after the student was found hanging in a suspicious manner in her hostel room the day before.

The three persons named in the case were the school’s female principal, the hostel warden and one of the victim’s classmates. The girl’s family alleged that a student had attempted to rape the girl and kill her. The police had, however, denied the sexual assault allegation claiming that the girl hanged herself. They said a note was recovered from her room stating 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 post-mortem report said the death occurred due to asphyxia from to antemortem hanging. However, the SIT decided to conduct DNA profiling after forensic experts found semen stains on the victim’s undergarments.

In September, 2019, the state government sent a letter to the Centre recommending a CBI investigation in the case. However, the central investigating agency is yet to take over the case.

In December, the government removed then Superintendent of Police, Mainpuri, Ajay Shankar Rai. Later that month, the government formed the SIT to probe the case afresh after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote to Chief Minister Yogi
Adityanath seeking an “unbiased probe” into the death.

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