Police in Assam have arrested a magistrate in Darrang district for his alleged negligience in the case of a 13-year-old girl’s purported suicide, which investigations suggest was rape and murder.
The girl was found hanging at the residence of a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel in Darrang district on June 11. She worked as a domestic help there.
The action comes after the arrest of multiple police officers and doctors in the case, in which the SSB personnel as well as his wife are accused.
The case was first registered as an unnatural death but later changed to suicide. Police reopened the investigation after Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in August, visited the family members of the girl, who alleged dereliction of duty by police.
After the magistrate was arrested Friday, Chief Minister Sarma said: “The magistrate was arrested today. The CID has already arrested SP, Additional SP (Darrang), police station officer in-charge and three doctors earlier, who conducted the first post-mortem examination on the deceased girl.”
Ashirvad Hazarika, the local magistrate who was arrested on Friday, was absconding the previous day.
Darrang SP Raj Mohan Ray, who was suspended earlier over the issue, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 2 lakh to dilute the case. A local police officer, who was said to have given the money to him, was arrested earlier on October 31.
Police have said the fresh investigation established the involvement of the accused persons in molestation, murder, suppression of evidence and rape.
They said the victim didn’t die by hanging, as was thought initially. The accused had hit the girl on her head and neck and strangulated her with a rope after she threatened to divulge the alleged sexual assault by the SSB man to his wife, police said.
Investigators used forensic experts and DNA profiling of the prime accused to match semen traces with remains from the undergarments of the victim.
Earlier in August, Additional SP Rupam Phukan and another local police officer were suspended after Sarma visited the family of the girl..
Additional DGP of CID, AYV Krishna, said government officers arrested over the case did not follow rules during the investigation procedure and furnished fake reports in an effort to pass it off as suicide.
The body of the girl was exhumed and a post mortem examination was conducted for a second time.