AS PART of its investigation into the custodial death case of Suraj Singh, one of the six suspects arrested in connection with the rape and murder case of a minor girl, the CBI Thursday again set alarm bells ringing for the Himachal Pradesh police by directing Bhajan Dass Negi, former additional SP (Rural, Shimla), DSP Rattan Singh and three other cops to report to the CBI office in Delhi and join investigations.
The police officers were posted at Kotkhai police station and used to perform duties of sentry (night guard). After the custodial death, all staff at the police station were shifted. The police station was also targeted by an angry mob, which pelted stones and set it afire on July 19. Bhajan Dass Negi and Rattan Singh (Negi) were members of the SIT headed by IGP Zahur H Zaidi for investigations into the rape and murder case of the schoolgirl, whose body was found abandoned on July 6 – two days after she went missing on her way back home from school.
On Tuesday, the CBI had arrested Zaidi and eight other cops in the case and taken them to Delhi. Those arrested included DSP (Theog) Manoj Joshi, SHO (Kotkhai) Rajinder Singh, ASI Deep Chand Sharma —who was the investigating officer — and four others. Sources said Bhajan Dass Negi and Rattan Singh Negi were the only two members of the SIT who were not arrested, which had surprised a section of the police force. While Bhajan Dass Negi had been directly associated with investigations and had visited spot where the body of the victim was found, Rattan Negi was associated with SIT for purpose to examining the call details of the phones of the suspects.
There has also been speculation about the erstwhile SP (Shimla) D W Negi having also been under the CBI radar as he himself had supervised the investigations and camped at Kotkhai before the case was handed over to the CBI. The central investigating agency had seized the cellphones of several police officers who were associated with investigations in the rape and murder case in the light of the allegations about ‘botched’ investigations and not arresting the actual culprits.
Sources said some doctors of Indira Gandhi Medical college (IGMC) hospital who had done postmortem of the victim have also been under radar of the CBI and could be questioned in Delhi.
The sources added that after Suraj Singh died during questioning, the SHO had spoken to his seniors, including Zahur Zaidi – who apart from being IGP (South) was also head of the SIT. The police had claimed that Suraj died after a scuffle with another accused, Raju, inside the lock-up. The night sentry Dinesh Kumar — who now has been provided police protection, had informed the CBI that there was no scuffle in the lock-up as Suraj had been taken out for interrogation. CBI seeks copies of affidavits In a significant development, the CBI Thursday filed an application in the state High Court requesting the court to provide copies of the affidavits which members of the SIT had filed in the court two weeks ago about the investigations they had done in the rape and murder case of a schoolgirl and also how the custodial death of a suspect took place.
In the special application the CBI had informed the court that these affidavits could be valuable for the investigations as some arrests had already been made in the basis of the evidence which the agency had collected relating to custodial death. The CBI will submit its status report to the High Court next week.
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