A local court on Saturday granted bail to Ashish Chauhan, one of the six accused in the case of rape and murder of a schoolgirl at Kotkhai. Chauhan (32), son of a local orchard owner, was among those arrested by the SIT of Himachal Pradesh Police in July 2017 after the FIR in the case was filed. One of the accused later died in police custody under mysterious circumstances.
Chauhan, who has been in judicial custody, had filed bail plea in the court in August 2017. The rape-murder case is being probed by the CBI, which too has not made any headway in the case, except arresting eight police officers, including IGP Zahur Zaidi, in connection with the custodial death of one of the accused in the case. “In the absence of concrete evidence and chargesheet despite a lapse of 90 days, he was granted bail,” said a member of Chauhan’s family.
Chauhan, along with five other accused, Rajinder Singh alias Raju, Subhash Singh Bisht, Lakjan alias Chotu, Suraj and Deepak, were arrested by the police on July 13 for the rape and murder of 16-year-old girl who went missing on July 4 and whose body was found two days later at Halaila forests in Kotkhai.
Amid public outrage over alleged shoddy investigations by the Special Investigation Team, the case was referred to the CBI by the High Court on the request by the state government. The HC, which is monitoring the case, has pulled up the CBI for not making progress in the case despite so many opportunities given to the agency.