The Kanchanpur District Court has cleared the names of all police personnel accused of tampering evidence and torturing suspect in connection with the investigation into the Nirmala Panta rape and murder case. The district court also ruled that the case was based on fabrication and rumours.
Though the decision was taken on July 30, the full text of the decision was released only a few days ago.
The body of 13-year-old Nirmala was found in a sugarcane field of Bhimdatta Municipality-18, Kanchanpur on July 27, 2018. Investigation revealed that she was killed after being raped.
A preliminary investigation into the incident was conducted by the District Police Office, Kanchanpur while a three-member team led by DSP Angur GC had arrived from Kathmandu to assist the investigation team.
The first case related to torture and compensation was filed by Khadak Singh Bista on behalf of Dilip Singh Bista, who was taken into custody as a suspect, on December 18.
SP Dilliraj Bista, DSP Angur GC, DSP Gyan Bahadur Sethi and Inspector Ekendra Khadka were accused of beating and torturing Dilip and preparing false evidence against the suspect.
There were also allegations that Dilip was drugged to extract a false testimony.
The full text of the final verdict of the same charge states that “a case has been filed by the state body alleging that the responsible police officer arrested and tortured the detainee in accordance with the law.”
“It seems that the responsible police officers have been prosecuted for the case which was based on fabrications creating a serious impact on their reputation and professional development.”
The district court has, however, pointed out weaknesses on the part of SP Dilliraj Bista and Inspector Ekendra Khadka. “The inability to provide security after the incident, or to investigate and prosecute those involved in evidence mishandling is a matter of their professional conduct which is a matter of general departmental action so it is not reasonable to file a case and prosecute them,” the ruling reads.
Eight police officers were suspended in October, including the then SP Dilliraj Bista and Inspector Jagdish Bhatta, after a case was filed against them for obstructing the investigation by destroying the collected evidence. The two officers were dismissed on October 25 and have not been reinstated yet.
The suspension of DSP GC, sub-inspector Ram Singh Dhami and Chandani Saud of CIB, who were suspended from September 16, 2018, has not been lifted. DSP Gyan Bahadur Sethi, Inspector Ekendra Khadka and sub-inspector Harsingh Dhami have been given mandatory leave during the suspension.
The acquitted have said they were waiting for a certified copy of the verdict. “After receiving a copy, we will apply to the police headquarters requesting to lift our suspension,” said DSP GC.