Shimla gangrape case: IG, DSP held for custodial death

SHIMLA: In an immediate action, the CBI arrested eight Himachal Pradesh policemen, including an inspector general, for the custodial death of an important accused in the brutal rape and murder of a school girl in Kotkhai in Shimla district on July 4.

This action of CBI with regard to arresting plenty of cops, including senior IPS officer for custodial death comes under the category of a rare instance. Also arrested was deputy superintendent of police Manoj Joshi.

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Coming to the case, they have been arrested for the death of Nepalese labourer Suraj Singh in the Kotkhai police station lock-up on July 18. At that juncture time, it was alleged that he had been brutally beaten up and murdered by another accused Rajender Singh.

It is worthwhile mentioning that Rajender and Suraj were among six accused arrested for the rape and murder of a minor girl on July 4. The girl’s severely injured body was recovered from a forest on July 6, leading to widespread protests in Shimla.

And that is where Zaidi was head of the special investigation team (SIT) formed by the state in order to investigate the rape and murder. Joshi was initially investigating the case before the SIT took over.

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After the custodial death and widespread protests, Zaidi was shifted from IG (southern range, Shimla) to IG (welfare and administration).

After getting response from the HP high court, the CBI had registered a case on July 22 and begin the investigation. According to the sources, at the time of investigation, Dinesh Sharma, a policeman who was on sentry duty on the night of July 18, had said Suraj was not killed in the lock-up as he had not heard any noise. He also denied seeing Rajender and Suraj clash in the lock-up.

Gudiya Nyay Manch co-convener Vijender Mehra told mediapersons that the arrest of police officers clearly highlights that the police’s role in the investigation was suspect. “We have been alleging connivance of police with the real accused and arrest of police officials has proved us right,” he said.  

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