‘Serious dereliction of duty by police has complicated probe’The high-level committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to probe into the rape and murder case of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta has accused Kanchanpur police of botching the investigation.
The high-level committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs to probe into the rape and murder case of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta has accused Kanchanpur police of botching the investigation.
A day after the National Human Rights Commission concluded that the district police mishandled the investigation and possibly destroyed evidences from the crime scene, the committee has reached a similar conclusion, that serious dereliction of duty by police obfuscated the investigation.
“The negligence shown by the police has complicated the investigation. The then district police chief, SP Dilli Raj Bista, was suspended from his job as a result,” the committee leader, Hari Mainali, said at a press conference in Kanchanpur on Friday.
Mainali added that the committee will also recommend the ministry to take appropriate action against those officers whose actions had affected the investigation.
The five-member committee, led by Mainali, is in Kanchanpur on a truth-finding mission about Nirmala’s death and the events that transpired in its wake, including police shooting dead a teenage boy who was attending a rally demanding justice for Nirmala on the afternoon of August 24.
Mainali said the rally shooting incident was among the series of missteps taken by police.
“Every detail of our findings will be mentioned in the report that we plan to submit to the ministry in a few days,” he said. Deputy Inspector General of Police Ram Prasad Shrestha, who is part of the probe committee, admitted that sloppy investigation had helped the perpetrators and distanced the victim’s family from justice.
“Police carelessness has been found the preliminary stage of the investigation process. They did not even bother to reach out to the vcitim’s family after the incident,” he said.
Nirmala, a resident of Bhimdutta Municipality-2, was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after her mother filed a missing person’s report with police.
Although police have presented a 41-year-old mentally ill man as the main suspect behind the incident, a large section of Kanchanpur population, including Nirmala’s parents, strongly believe that the real perpetrators are still on the loose.