Lalitpur: Cop booked for letting 3 accused off the hook in gangrape and murder case

The police had allegedly refused to register a case initially and did so eventually on a court order.

Four years after three youths got a clean chit from the police in connection with a case of gangrape and murder of a 32-year-old woman registered in Lalitpur district, the Crime Branch of the state CID has booked the investigating officer (IO) in the case for not collecting evidence against the accused during the probe.

The police had allegedly refused to register a case initially and did so eventually on a court order.

The Crime Branch, which took over the case on the government’s directive, learned during its probe that Mahesh Chandra Gautam, the first investigating officer in the case, had not sent the victim’s clothes and viscera sample to the forensic science laboratory for examination.

It also accused Gautam, who was the station house officer of the police station concerned at the time, of not filing an FIR at the time of the incident.

“During investigation, the CID collected the victim’s clothes and viscera sample kept at the local police station and sent them to the Forensic Science laboratory for examination. Her clothes were unwashed and the lab, in its report, stated that it had picked up traces of sperm on them. The sperm was later matched with the three accused,” said Inspector Subhadra Verma of CB CID, who led the re-investigation in the case.

She added that the police filed a charge sheet against the three accused, who also happen to be the victim’s neighbours, earlier this month. They have been charged with gangrape and murder.

The accused, all in their 30s, were arrested and put behind bars.

On Friday, the Crime Branch got an FIR filed against the first IO under IPC sections 166 (public servant disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person), 166-A (public servant disobeying direction under law) and 217 (public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture), said the current SHO of the local police station Manoj Kumar Verma.

Gautam, who was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Police, is presently posted as the Circle Officer of Moradabad district.

Police said the incident dates back to April, 2017 when the victim and her six-year-old daughter went out in a field in the evening. Her daughter returned home alone and told her father that three neighbouring youths took her mother away with them. As she didn’t return home, her husband, also the complainant, and other family members went looking for her. They found her lifeless body hanging from a tree in the field. The police took custody of the body and sent it for autopsy, the Crime Branch said.

It was alleged that the local police had initially declared that the woman died by suicide and closed the investigation. However, her husband kept visiting the local police, pleading with them to register a case claiming that she was gang-raped and murdered before being hanged from a tree.

As the police refused to file a case, the complainant moved court and got an FIR registered against his three neighbours on charges of gangrape and murder in June, 2017.

After police gave a clean chit to the accused by filing closure report in the case, he lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission which directed the government to get the case investigated afresh by the Crime Branch, Verma said.

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