Patna: The Gaya police on Wednesday secured the custody of two prime accused in the alleged rape and murder case of a 16-year-old girl. The Patna court accepted the request made by the police and sent the father of the girl, Turaj Prasad Patwa, and his friend Leela Patwa, on three-day police remand.
"We have taken them on remand for further questioning in the case. The two have been accused of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate the minor girl,” a police officer involved in the investigation said.
Earlier in the day, Gaya Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate-VIII, Rajiv Kumar, heard the petition filed by investigating officer Manoj Kumar and allowed the police to conduct a narco test on the victim's father Turaj, her mother Asha Devi, and sister Bharti, as well as on the other accused Leela.
"I have already informed my seniors about the order of the court. They will now fix the date and place where the narco test will be conducted on the four suspects," said Kumar, who is also the station house officer at Buniyadganj police station in Gaya, before leaving the court premises.
A team from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has also been sent to Gaya to assist the local police with their investigation. "The police headquarter is monitoring the investigation. Scientific evidence is being collected to ascertain the cause of the tragic incident," ADGP (law and order) Alok Raj said.
A team of forensic experts from Patna have collected samples from Leela’s house. “We have collected evidence that will help the police crack this case at the earliest,” says Ashu Kumar Jha, Additional Director of the state forensic science laboratory.
The forensics team had reportedly found bloodstains at Leela’s house. “The bloodstains sample will be matched with that of the victim to ascertain whether it was of the same girl, someone else, or a domestic animal. The sample will be sent for a DNA test,” an investigating officer revealed.
Kundan Krishnan, ADG (Headquarters), claimed that the autopsy report received on Monday did not confirm the allegations of rape. Krishnan, however, refused to elaborate on the report. 101Reporters has not yet received a copy of the autopsy report.
Demands for a CBI probe increase
The victims' mother reiterated the demand for a CBI probe on Wednesday while asserting that she is not ready to undergo a narco-analysis test. "I will not allow the police to conduct any such test. I have no faith in the district police. They change the evidence to corroborate their ‘honour killing theory’,” she told 101Reporters, adding that she would prefer a thorough investigation by the central investigation agency.
Haridhar Prasad, secretary of the Patwa Weavers’ Association, alleged that the police have not given them a copy of the autopsy report citing confidentiality. "How can we trust them? They are not providing even a copy of the post mortem report.”
Prasad also pointed out that the police had not mentioned the allegations of rape in the inquest report submitted to the hospital for post mortem. "This raises doubts over the police’s intention,” he insisted.
The demand for a CBI probe into the case has gained momentum in Bihar with hundreds of CPI-ML workers organising a protest in Patna on Wednesday, a couple of hours after a Gaya magisterial court allowed the police to conduct a narco-analysis test on the key suspects.
In Gaya, CPI-ML workers led by state unit member Reeta Barnawal marched in protest from the Manpur locality to the Gaya collectorate, where they resolved to fight for justice. The protesters carried placards that read ‘Justice for Bihar’s Nirbhaya’ and ‘order for a CBI probe’.
Addressing the gathering, a host of leaders accused the local police of framing the victim’s family. "We demand a CBI inquiry as the police is trying to cover up the whole incident. That is why the police is giving it a different colour altogether,” alleged Barnawal.
Among those demanding a CBI probe into the case are members of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (APWA), and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. Madhepura MP Pappu Yadav, too, promised help to the victim’s family. Yadav announced that his party, Jan Adhikar Party Loktantrik, would soon file a PIL in the Patna High Court to press for a CBI probe.
Torchlight processions were also organised in West Bengal’s Jadavpur University on Wednesday in solidarity with the victim’s family. Earlier, a similar protest was held in Bengaluru on 13 January.
Patwa weavers back victim’s parents
Vowing not to remain silent, Prem Narain Patwa, a senior leader of the Patwa Weavers’ Association said the community has decided to boycott public meetings and rallies of the ruling alliance in Bihar. "The leaders of the ruling alliance will not be allowed to enter the limits of Gaya. They will be taught a lesson at an opportune time," he told 101Reporters. The association also plans to organise rallies and demonstrations for a week, and also call for a “Gaya bandh”.
“If the district administration doesn’t listen to our demand, we will launch a fast unto death in the state capital, Patna," he said.
Prem, along with other members of the community, met the girl’s father Turaj Wednesday at the Gaya Central Jail and enquired about his health. “He has been beaten up badly in police custody. Marks of injury on his body bore testimony to the extent of police excess,” he said.
Hari Manjhi, the BJP MP from Gaya, has tried to persuade the agitators to remain calm. “I will take up the issue with senior police officials and ensure justice to the aggrieved family,” Manjhi said, adding that “innocent people” cannot be harassed by the police on one pretext or the other.
The author is a freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters
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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2019 22:35:26 IST