The government has decided to reinstate the then Kanchanpur Chief Superintendent of Police (SP) Dilliraj Bista, who had been sacked in connection to police carelessness in the Nirmala Panta rape and subsequent murder case.
A Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday decided to reinstate Bista, reversing the action taken against the investigation officer two years ago.
Bista and Inspector Jagdish Bhatta were dismissed on October 25, 2018, after a team including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) found negligence and unprofessional conduct by police while investigating Panta’s case.
As many as eight police officers, including SP Bista charged were with destroying evidence in the case.
SP Bista, DSP of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Angur GC, DSP Gyan Bahadur Sethi, Inspector Ekendra Bahadur Khadka, Inspector Jagadish Prasad Bhatta, Sub-inspector Harasingh Dhami, Sub-inspector Ramsingh Dhami and Constable Chandani Saud were charged with torturing those arrested and destroying incriminating evidence.
They were, however, acquitted by the Kanchanpur District Court on July 30, 2020. Following the court order, most of the suspended officers have already returned to their duty.
13-year-old Nirmala Panta was raped and subsequently killed in Kanchanpur on 27 July, 2018.
Videos uploaded by the general public on social media showed police washing the victim’s trousers in muddy water and cleaning blood stains from the girl’s thighs a day after the incident.
More than two years into the incident, police have yet to track down the culprit(s) of Panta’s rape and murder. Numerous protests have been held across the country demanding justice for Nirmala — a 14-year-old lost his life in police firing during one such protest while another teenager was shot at and badly injured.
The case has yet to be closed despite the formation of several investigation committees, and police arresting a number of suspects and conducted DNA tests.