The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of CID Crime, constituted to probe the alleged gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Modasa, has concluded that the victim was forced to commit suicide by the main accused, who was allegedly in a relationship with her.
The SIT presented its report in front of the media on Thursday where they claimed that forensic evidence has suggested that the woman was neither abducted nor raped and murdered. The SIT will now press charges against the main accused, Bimal Bharvad, for abetment to suicide.
“Based on the findings of the postmortem reports and Forensic Science Laboratory and call details records (CDR), we have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that the victim was abducted or raped and murdered. The victim had committed suicide as she was compelled by the main accused Bimal Bharvad after her relationship with him turned sour. We will now book Bharvad for abatement to suicide,” said a senior officer of CID Crime.
On January 5, the body of a 19-year-old Dalit woman was found hanging from a tree in a village in Modasa, four days after she reportedly went missing. The family members of the woman alleged that the police initially refused to lodge a missing person report. Based on the complaint submitted by the victim’s relative, on January 7, a first information report (FIR) was lodged against four persons — Bimal Bharvad, Darshan Bharvad, Satish Bharvad and Jigar — under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for gang rape (376 D), murder (302), abduction (366) and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (prevention of atrocities) act.
After the FIR, three out of four accused surrendered in front of Modasa police team on January 12, while the fourth — Satish Bharvad is still on the run. After huge public outcry by Dalit rights activists over the alleged inefficiency by local police, Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) transferred the case to state CID Crime unit on January 12 and also suspended police inspector NK Rabari of Modasa Town police station, who allegedly refused to lodge missing or abduction report of the woman in the first place.
The SIT team also said that the scratch marks found on the body of the woman occurred when her body was brought down from the tree by local police as the area was full of bushes and thorns. After two months of investigation, the SIT has given a clean chit to three out of four accused —Darshan, Satish and Jigar- for having no connection in the case.
“Till now, there is no role of Darshan, Satish and Jigar in this case. The main accused Bimal was in a relationship with the victim woman despite him being married. The victim had recently expressed her desire to marry Bimal which was not reciprocated by the latter. Then on December 31 night, Bimal, the woman and a few of Bimal’s friends had dinner at a hotel in Modasa. On January 1 this year, Bimal was dropping the woman back to her home when a fight ensued between them in the car. The victim then called her elder sister at Modasa bus stand around 2 pm when the three of them had a conversation. Bimal then left the spot in his car and the woman took an autorickshaw to her village, as per her elder sister. However, instead of going to her home, the woman committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree,” said the officer.
The SIT will now present its findings in front of the court in Modasa which has set the next date of hearing on March 19. The main accused Bimal Bharvad will also undergo a narco test as per the court order.
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