Updated: July 2, 2021 5:00:39 am
Two days after bodies of five members of a Dalit family were exhumed from a field in Nemavar, in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday announced compensation of Rs 40 lakh for the family under SC/ST Act and said the case will be tried in a fast-track court, even as Opposition leader Kamal Nath of the Congress demanded a CBI inquiry.
Chouhan said, “The incident is inhuman and has shaken me. I have asked police to take strict action against the culprits and run the case in fast-track court.”
The five deceased were reported missing on May 13. They have been identified as Rapali Kaste (21), her mother Mamtabai Kaste (45), sister Divya Kaste (14), and cousins Pooja Oswal (15), and Pavan Oswal (14).
The bodies were dug up from an eight-foot pit on a field owned by the accused, Surrendra Singh Chouhan, police said.
Police learnt that they had been killed and buried after detaining Surrendra and questioning him — Dewas SP Shiv Dayal said Surrendra confessed to the crime during questioning.
According to the SP, Surrendra was a friend of Rupali. Following a fight between them, Surrendra, with the help of six others, allegedly murdered Rupali and her family members.
Two of Surrendra’s helps had dug up a pit for putting up a transformer, which was used to bury the five, Dayal said. He said the accused filled it with urea (fertiliser) and salt and covered it with mud.
Police began a probe after a missing complaint was registered on May 17 by Rupali’s sister Bharti, who was away on work when the crime took place. Bharti and Santosh are only siblings left behind from the Kaste family.
In the meanwhile, Pooja and Pavan Oswal’s family registered a kidnapping case against Rupali on May 27. But since Surrendra had allegedly handed over Rupali’s cellphone to a friend in Khandwa, who kept travelling and uploading pictures, it deviated the investigation for a long time. Surrendra was picked up for questioning on the basis of suspicion only in June.
Besides Surrendra, six others arrested in the case have been identified as Virendra Singh Chouhan, Rajkumar Keer, Vivek Tiwari, Karan Korku, Manoj Korku and Rakesh Nemore. They have been booked under different sections of IPC. According to the police, Surrendra and the others strangulated the five.
The SP said sexual assault has not been found in either the police p[robe so far or the FSL report. The police are awaiting the postmortem report, Dayal added.
Police will also identify properties owned by Surrendra and his co-accused in order to demolish them, it was informed.
Balbeer Singh Tomar, national president of Gondwana Gantantra Party, who held a protest in Dewas, urging the police to investigate the case, said: “The sister was told that the family of five sat in a vehicle and left. Despite repeated warnings to police to investigate the case sooner, the police did not act.”
Tomar also alleged that the police failed to act sooner against Surrendra even though there was suspicion raised against him.
Meanwhile, a two-member Congress team of former PWD minister and Sonkatch MLA Sajjan Singh Verma and state Youth Congress president Vikrant Singh Bhuria visited the family today. They said, “After missing for 47 days, there was no questioning of the suspected party, which raises question on working of the police.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.