January 19, 2008 1:23:55 am
The verdict in the Bilkis Bano case has come as vindication of the fact, says Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Vijay Shankar, that “similar justice can be done in several other cases of this nature.”
Shankar, who personally supervised the probe as Special Director — the case was handed over to the agency two years after the incident — said that he was surprised that only one policemen has been convicted. Saying that he would wait for a copy of the final judgment, he told The Indian Express: “I am surprised why the other accused policemen have not been convicted.”
The Bilkis Bano case was marked by an unprecedented investigation which led the CBI team to a riverine grave in Dahod, Gujarat, from where human remains of the victims were dug out and sent for DNA sampling. The CBI team, after having located the grave found that tonnes of salt had been thrown in the grave and that there was a clear complicity of the police in tampering with the evidence and case records.
“As the CBI team set up camp in Dahod, gradually people of the area began appearing and giving testimonies that filled the gaps in the investigations. Eventually, of course, it was the exemplary courage and the exceptional will of Bilkis Bano herself which paved the way for success in the case,” said Shankar.
The investigation was completed by the CBI in a record 87 days — from the day the FIR was registered. Playing a key role was the forensic team which camped in Dahod, led by Dr TD Dogra, that provided clinching evidence which convinced the court of the complicity of the accused.
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