Eight police personnel charged with destroying evidence in the Nirmala Panta rape and subsequent murder case were acquitted by the Kanchanpur District Court on Thursday.

While many believe that the court’s decision was controversial or even unfair, the police personnel’s acquittal will now pave the way to expedite further judicial course on the case.

Three court cases – rape and murder (against the culprit<s>), torture (by police), and evidence tampering (by police) — had been filed in relation to Panta’s rape and murder.

Though the police have already identified the culprit, contradicting cases relating to torture and evidence tampering had hampered the growth in resolving the rape and murder case, say government lawyers.

“Now that the two cases, which were in contradiction with the rape and murder case, have been resolved, the court can finally move ahead with the rape and murder case. So, the acquittal is good news if we are to reach a final verdict as well as closure on the case,” informed a government lawyer seeking anonymity.

13-year-old Nirmala Panta’s dead body was found in a sugarcane field on July 27, 2018 in Bhimdutta Municipality-2 of Kanchanpur district, a day after she went missing.

She was a grade nine student at the local Saraswati Secondary School. On the morning of July 26, Pant had gone to her friend Roshani Bam’s house in order to complete her homework. But she never came back.

26 days after the incident on August 20, Kanchanpur police produced 41-year-old Dilip Singh Bista of Bagthata, Bhimdatta-19 as the culprit involved in Panta’s rape and murder.

But Bista was released on September 12 despite confessing to have committed the crime after Panta’s vaginal swab did not match with his DNA.