Bista, Bam sisters releasedKanchanpur District Police on Tuesday released three suspects after forensic tests showed no evidence of their complicity in the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta.
Kanchanpur District Police on Tuesday released three suspects after forensic tests showed no evidence of their complicity in the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta.
Police had detained Dilip Singh Bista, Roshani Bam and her sister Babita to investigate the case that has sparked national outrage and censure of rights groups.
Superintendent of Police Kuber Kadayat said, “We have released Bista and Bam sisters as there is not enough evidence to file cases against them. They would be kept under police surveillance as the investigation continues.”
Police exonerated and released Bista after his DNA did not match the victim’s vaginal swab. They handed Bista to his brother Khadak in the evening, stating that there was not enough evidence to file a case against him.
“We had sent vaginal swab of the victim for the DNA test at the Centre. The tests did not match Bista’s DNA,” said Kadayat.
Nepal Police Spokesperson SSP Shailesh Thapa Kshetri said the Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory (CPFSL) did the DNA tests of the vaginal swab.
“We could not send the vaginal swab to the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) as the sample we collected was not enough. We sent Bista’s blood sample to NAST for DNA tests.
“Both the tests revealed that the DNA traced in the vaginal swab does not match that of Bista’s profile. The investigation hereon will identify the DNA profile our tests have traced from the vaginal swab,” said Kshetri.
NAST Acting Director Birendra Raj Shakya confirmed to the Post that their lab did not receive any samples of vaginal discharge. “We only received one blood sample. We performed the DNA tests and handed over the profile to the Central Investigative Bureau.”
Kanchanpur police had paraded Bista, a resident of Bhimdutta Municipality-19, on August 20 claiming that
he was the main accused in the case.
A wave of violent protests followed Bista’s arrest. The victim’s family and the locals believed Bista was innocent and police tried to frame him to protect the real culprits involved in the heinous crime.
Police released the Bam sisters and Bista after seeking legal advice from the District Attorney’s Office. However, they released Roshani on condition of presenting herself before the police if required. Her sister Babita was freed on Rs30,000 bail. Their father Narendra Bam received them.
Police had arrested the Bam sisters on August 23 for investigation as the protesters demanded. Nirmala had gone to Bam sisters’ home the day before she was found dead on a sugarcane field on July 27.
Bista was reluctant to speak to the media after his release. He just said he is innocent. He refused to comment when asked about torture in police custody.
“Everybody knows my brother [Bista] is innocent. The DNA report has proved it,” Bista’s brother Khadak told reporters. He said the authorities tried to frame innocent persons, but to no avail.
Nirmala was found dead in Bhimdutta-18, Kanchanpur, on July 27, a day after she was reported missing. Forensic reports showed she was raped and strangled to death.
The district police insist investigation into the case continues, but they are still clueless about the real culprits.
On Monday, Birendra KC, a member of the five-member team formed by the Home Ministry to investigate the teenager’s murder, announced quitting the panel citing threats by those actively trying to undermine the probe.
KC told journalists in Kathmandu that he and his family members could be murdered if he continued to be a part of the probe panel.