New Delhi: The CBI charge sheet against the four men accused of the alleged gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in UP’s Hathras has blamed the UP Police for inaction, delay and not following adequate procedure in recording the victim’s statement.
The charge sheet against the four Thakur men accused of the crime — Sandeep (20), his uncle Ravi (35) and their friends Ramu (26) and Luv Kush (23) — was filed last week under Indian Penal Code sections 376 (rape), 376 (D) (gang rape), 302 (murder) and relevant sections of the SC/ST Act.
Highlighting the “lag” in proper investigation by the local police, the CBI said despite the woman mentioning three of the accused — Sandeep, Ravi and Ramu — in her statement on 19 September, five days after the alleged crime, only one (Sandeep) ended up being mentioned in the written version.
“Though victim alleged molestation, her medical examination regarding sexual assault was not conducted,” the charge sheet, accessed by ThePrint, noted.
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Her statements were ignored
It also revealed that officers at Chandpa police station didn’t record the woman’s statement, as mandated by Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), when she and her family first arrived to report the crime. Neither a woman officer nor the Station House Officer examined the victim until 19 September.
“Had she been immediately examined by senior police official and referred for medical examination with respect to sexual assault, valuable forensic evidence could have been saved,” the CBI said.
The agency also pointed to three videos of the woman giving statements about the crime that had gone viral on social media — noting the consistent mentioning of the words “zabardasti” (forcibly) and “chhedkhani” (a euphemism for molestation), which the police neglected by not adding Section 354 or Section 376 to the FIR.
“It is pertinent to mention that the victim on 14.09.2020 at PS Chandpa itself uttered the word zabardasti but it was neglected by the police present there as was no subsequent medical examination in the light of the sexual assault… not carried out by the police or any authorities. Also neither Sec. 354 (n)or Sec. 376 added by the police in the FIR in the beginning itself,” the charge sheet stated.
“But again on 19.09.2020, the girl expressed in her statement to the police the word ‘chhedkhani’, but that time only Sec. 354 added but again neither police requested/referred for medical examination in the light of sexual assault nor carried out by the authorities,” it added.
The CBI said in another video that went viral on social media on 21 September, the victim had stated that Sandeep and Ravi had raped her, and that some other persons had run away when they saw her mother.
“In the same video, she has also stated that Ravi and Sandeep had attempted rape against her previously, but she somehow escaped. Since, then she came to know that both are hand-in-glove,” the probe agency noted.
Only on 22 September, when the girl “explicitly” mentioned ‘balatkar’ (rape) by the four accused that sexual assault examination was carried out — eight days after the alleged crime had taken place, it pointed out.
“The above mentioned negligence during the handling of the case by the police as well as authorities concerned clearly led to delay in the examination of the victim,” it said.
ThePrint had earlier reported the woman’s brother’s allegations that the police didn’t help the family initially and acted against the accused only after there was a social media outrage.
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Delay responsible for absence of visible genital injury
On 1 October, UP’s Additional Director General of Police (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar had cited a report compiled by the Forensic Science Laboratory in Agra to claim that the Hathras woman was not raped, because there was no presence of semen. This report was based on samples collected on 25 September, 11 days after the alleged rape took place.
The “final opinion” of the Department of Forensic Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, had said “there are no signs of vaginal/anal intercourse”, but “there are evidences of physical assault (injuries over the neck and the back)”.
However, a multi-institutional medical board (MIMB), constituted under the Forensic Department at AIIMS after the CBI took over the probe, said the “possibility of sexual assault can’t be ruled out”.
“In this case, since there was a delay in reporting/documentation/forensic examination for sexual assault, these factors could be responsible for absence of significantly visible signs of genital injury,” the MIMB said.
‘Sandeep’s frustration & aggravated feelings’
The 20-year-old woman had allegedly rejected the advances of Sandeep, and the “change in their relationship… aggravated his feelings and frustrated him”, the CBI said.
According to the charge sheet, Sandeep had “developed acquaintance with the victim two/three years back which gradually turned into a love affair”. Sandeep had, in a letter to the UP Police, claimed he was “friends” with the woman and they would speak on the phone and also meet.
Sandeep had three phone numbers, and several calls were made from those to the victim’s family, but family members have “affirmed during their examination that they neither called nor spoke to Sandeep over the phone”.
Analysis of the records of calls exchanged between the woman and Sandeep from October 2019 to March 2020 further “indicates that there were short duration (signal) calls from the side of victim to Sandeep, which were followed by long duration calls from accused Sandeep to victim’s family number. This established that the relationship/affair between victim and accused Sandeep was in good form till March 2020”, the agency said.
When family members of the victim got to know about these calls, “they had a wordy quarrel with Sandeep’s family”, the charge sheet states. The relationship was dented, but after March 2020, Sandeep still tried to contact the woman from several numbers of friends and relatives. During the investigation of one such person, it was revealed that the “victim was avoiding the accused Sandeep and his mobile calls for some time”.
“Because of her changed behaviour, accused Sandeep was in frustration,” the charge sheet alleged, adding that he suspected she was having “an affair” with someone else. “This change in their relationship aggravated the feelings of accused Sandeep,” the CBI said.
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Dying declaration and evidence against the other 3 accused
The charge sheet mentioned that the woman had “categorically stated that she was gang raped by the aforesaid four accused persons; she has also named aforesaid four accused persons in her ‘dying declaration’ recorded on 22.09.2020”, which establishes that she was gang raped on 14 September.
“Investigation also revealed that all four accused persons were present in the village or nearby place, which corroborates the allegation of the victim,” it continued, adding that none of Ramu, Ravi or Luvkush could explain their whereabouts at the time of crime “satisfactorily”.
Forensic Psychological Assessment and Layered Voice Analysis Test were conducted on all the four accused; they were also subjected to Brain Oscillation Signature (BEOS) and polygraph tests during the investigation, the charge sheet added.
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A few days after this sordid incident was reported and there was hue and cry in the media, another narrative started that some of left-liberal-lyutens lobby women went there, posed as aunt of the victim, and made aggravating statements to paint Yogi government in bad light. The pollice committed the inexcusable blunder of cramating the victim’s body post haste. The village elders also claimed that the arrested men were innocent of the alleged offences. However, now from CBI’s report and reliance placed on various forensic evidence, it seems that the crime against the woman indeed occurred. This episode shows how truth becomes the first casualty when a case is sensationalized.
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