Kotkhai custodial death: Himachal govt nod to CBI for prosecution of 8 copshttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/shimla/kotkhai-custodial-death-himachal-govt-nod-to-cbi-for-prosecution-of-8-cops-5072655/

Kotkhai custodial death: Himachal govt nod to CBI for prosecution of 8 cops

A senior official confirmed the chief minister has granted his approval for prosecuting the eight officers, including IGP-rank Zahur Zaidi who headed the Special Investigation Team for probing the case.

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The CBI has already filed a charge sheet against the eight officers in the CBI court. (Express photo by Purushottam Sharma/Archives)

The state government has given its nod to the prosecution of eight police officers who has been booked by the CBI in the custodial death of Suraj Singh, one of the six suspects in the rape and murder of a 16-year old Kotkhai girl.

Highly-placed sources said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who also holds the portfolio of home and vigilance, has signed the file regarding their prosecution last week after getting a detailed report from the CBI .

A senior official confirmed the chief minister has granted his approval for prosecuting the eight officers, including IGP-rank Zahur Zaidi who headed the Special Investigation Team for probing the case and arrested the six on July 13. “One of them, Suraj, died in custody later,” said the official.

The CBI has already filed a charge sheet against the eight officers in the CBI court. Last week a supplementary charge sheet was also filed against former superintendent of police, Shimla, D W Negi.

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In fact the BJP, when in Opposition, had made Gudiya (nickname given to the girl by the media) rape case a major poll issue and promised, in its vision document, to start a 24X7 helpline for women safety.

The helpline has already been launched by the chief minister, but the file on grant of prosecution sanction against the police officers had been pending for long.

Only recently, the Home Department raised some queries to the CBI and asked it to provide additional inputs so that the decision on grant of prosecution sanction could be legally sustainable.

The 16-year-old schoolgirl had gone missing on her way back home from school on July 4 and her body was later found dumped in Halaila forests of Kotkhai on July 6. The incident had triggered protests and violence after her post-mortem report had confirmed rape.