New Delhi: The Yogi Adityanath government Tuesday offered to subject itself to the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction and requested the top court to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the alleged Hathras gang rape case.
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Uttar Pradesh government sought a court-monitored probe into the alleged crime to ensure that “investigation continues to remain fair, impartial and neutral”, and also dispel the “false narrative” started to “malign the image of the state government on social media”.
“It is humbly submitted that despite the entire investigation being under process, some sections of the social, electronic print media and some section of the political parties are seeking to deliberately interfere in the process and not permitting the truth to be unveiled and guilty to be punished,” said the affidavit filed by special secretary, home, UP government.
The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL seeking a CBI investigation in the Hathras gang rape case, or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe monitored by a sitting or retired Supreme Court or high court judge.
According to the state, the decision to cremate the victim’s body on 30 September was taken after the district administration received intelligence inputs about potential law and order problem leading to violence between the two communities — Dalits and Thakurs. This was done after the family was told and “convinced” to do so to avoid “large-scale violence” in the district, said the affidavit.
Apart from including the sequence of events in detail, the government annexed reports of medical examinations conducted on the victim, which do not suggest that the woman was sexually assaulted, and cite strangulation as the cause of her death, according to the affidavit.
The handwritten complaint given by the victim’s brother, her statement, her statement recorded with the police, a copy of the FIR registered in the case, forensic report received from the Agra forensic laboratory and translated copies of the intelligence inputs are also part of the affidavit.
The government also collated social media posts in support of its claim that an “orchestrated effort” was started to build up a “distorted narrative” in the case.
The affidavit was filed even before notice was issued to the UP government.
The UP government submitted it was committed to a fair and free investigation, and to reach the truth of the offence asked the top court to monitor the probe that should be conducted in a time-bound manner. This should be done to ensure that false narratives do not interfere with the investigation.
On its part, the government said, it had carried out diligent investigation. With a view to conduct an impartial probe, the state had constituted an SIT headed by home secretary rank officer immediately after the incident. Later, it even requested the Centre to take over the probe through CBI.
“This will ensure that no vested interests will be able to create a fake and false narrative with oblique motives,” it said.
The government asserted that the police took all steps to immediately register the crime when it was reported on 14 September. Registered as a case of attempt to murder, the FIR added more sections, including molestation and rape, when the victim levelled the allegations in her statements recorded a week after the alleged incident.
The arrests were affected soon thereafter, the affidavit said.
“Extraordinary circumstances and sequence of unlawful incidents forced the district administration to take extraordinary steps to cremate the victim at night in presence of the family members who agreed to attend to avoid further violence,” it said.
The government heavily criticised the media and some sections of political parties for making “a deliberate and planned attempt to incite caste communal riots in the state using the present offence”.
Family refused consent to move victim to specialised hospital
According to the affidavit, the FIR under attempt to murder section was registered after the Hathras police received a handwritten complaint by the victim’s brother, who alleged the prime accused Sandeep had strangulated his sister.
The victim was referred to Aligarh JN Medical College, for which the father gave a written consent. There, the medical experts found her C6 bone behind the neck as “displaced fracture” due to which the spinal cord was injured and oxygen supply to the body was affected. The doctors repeatedly advised the family to give their consent to move her to a spinal injury specialist hospital, said the affidavit.
However, no consent was given for the same and she had remained in the ICU for 15 days. On 19 September, the victim revised her statement alleging Sandeep tried to molest and strangulate her, following which Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was added to the FIR. This led to Sandeep’s arrest on 20 September.
On 22 September, the victim gave another statement when she alleged for the first time that she was gang raped by four men and revealed the name of three other accused, said the affidavit.
When asked why did she not disclose it on the first day, the victim claimed she was not in her senses then. On the same day, the parents also recorded their statement with the police, leveling gang rape allegations.
Following the fresh statements, the police added rape section to the FIR and arrested the other three accused on the basis of the charges, said the affidavit.
In view of her statement, the victim was medically examined at the Aligarh JN Medical College, which, the affidavit maintained, showed no abrasions contusions, lacerations or swelling in the victim.
Since prima facie no rape was made out, samples were sent to the Agra forensic laboratory. A report from there said blood was found on the victim’s body.
The victim was moved to Safdarjung on 28 September, after the father gave consent. A day later, however, she succumbed to the neck injuries sustained by her due to strangulation.
According to the medical report, there was no active bleeding in nose, ear and mouth, the affidavit said.
The UP government said the issue has been exploited to give communal colour.
Though the administration had convinced the parents to cremate the body at night, some mediapersons and political persons, having an oblique motive, tried to openly tell the family members to stop the cremation unless their demands were met, claimed the UP government.
The government asserted that political leaders stopped Hathras district administration officers from leaving Safdarjung Hospital with the victim’s body, which was finally taken away in an ambulance at 9.30 pm on 29 September with the assistance of Delhi Police that escorted the body up till the border.