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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Shimla rape-murder case: CBI gives clean chit to accused in custodial death of Suraj Singh, implicates police

High Court asks agency to complete investigations into the rape and murder case of the 16-year-old Kotkhai girl by December 20

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: December 1, 2017 3:14:35 am
Shimla rape and murder case The incident had created a furore in the state and led to month-long protests, paralysing normal life. (Source: Express Photo)

The CBI, probing the rape and murder case of a 16-year-old school girl in Shimla’s Kotkhai, submitted its status report in the High Court on Thursday, giving a clean chit to accused Rajinder Singh alias Raju in the custodial death case of Suraj Singh, a Nepali national and one of six suspects arested on July 13.

Suraj Singh had died in custody at Kotkhai Police Station on July 18, following which a mob had set it afire. The police Special Investigation Team (SIT) had implicated Raju, a driver-cum-orchard manager, in the murder of his fellow accused. CBI counsel Anshul Bansal said the central probe agency’s investigations have found that Suraj died after severe torture by police and a case had been file against the accused officers. The CBI has also requested the trial court to drop charges against Raju in relation to Suraj’s death.

The agency informed the HC that it had already filed a chargesheet, running into 600 pages, against eight police officials, including IGP Zahur Zaidi – who headed the SIT and DSP Manoj Joshi, on November 25 before a CBI court.

Expressing satisfaction over the CBI report, a HC special bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma, asked the agency to complete the investigations into the rape and murder case by December 20. “Public sentiments and that of the court are linked to outcome of CBI investigations in the case. Thus, steps should be taken to complete the investigations at the earliest,” the bench said, posting the matter for its next hearing on December 20.

Bansal told the HC that CBI investigations into the main murder case, which had led to widespread protests across the state, was at an advanced stage. “More than 1,000 samples have been taken and are being analysed,” Bansal said.

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The CBI counsel informed the court that the chargesheet against Shimla’s former SP DW Negi, who was arrested on November 16, would be filed by December 20 as some investigations were still underway against him. “If there is evidence of involvement of some more people in the case, a supplementary chargesheet will be filed in the court accordingly,” he said.

CBI said two police officers – Additional SP Bhajan Dev Negi and DSP Rattan Negi – who were part of the SIT, have not been made accused since they have agreed to turn witnesses in the custodial death case and have given statements under Section 164 CrPC.

The minor girl had gone missing after school hours on July 4 from Haliala forest. Her naked body was found in the forest on July 6 and the post-mortem report confirmed rape. The incident had created a furore in the state and led to month-long protests, paralysing normal life.

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