Court acquits eight police officers charged in connection with Nirmala Pant rape-murder caseThe officers were charged with meting out torture and destroying evidence.
The Kanchanpur District Court has acquitted eight police officers, including then Superintendent of Police Dilliraj Bista, for their alleged involvement in torturing suspects and destroying evidence related to July 2018 rape and murder of Nirmala Pant.
The single bench of Judge Gopal Prasad Bastola on Thursday acquitted Bista, DSP duo Angur GC and Gyan Bahadur Sethi and Inspector Ekendra Khadka.
Khadak Bista, the brother of Dilip Bista who was presented by police as the prime suspect in the rape and murder of the 13-year-old, had filed a case against the four officers charging them of torturing Dilip to extract false confession.
The court also absolved eight police officers who were allegedly involved in destroying the evidence in connection to the crime.
Yaduraj Sharma, the court’s registrar, said Bista, GC, Sethi, Khadka, Inspector Jagadish Bhatta, Sub-inspector duo Ram Singh Dhami and Hari Singh Dhami and Constable Chandani Saud have been cleared of the charges pressed by Nirmala’s mother Durga Devi Pant.
Durga Devi had filed the case against them on the charge of destroying evidence in the aftermath of the incident.
“The defendants were acquitted as the court found that there was no basis to prove the charges filed against them,” said Sharma.
The court had released the accused officers on bail in March 2019.
Police had detained Dilip, a mentally ill person, a few weeks after the incident and paraded him as the main suspect. However, his arrest was interpreted by the public as the police trying to cover-up the incident and had led to protests nationwide.
Fourteen-year-old protester Sunny Khuna had died when police fired at a protest rally in Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur, on August 24.
Dilip was eventually freed after his DNA did not match during a forensic analysis of the victim’s vaginal swab.
“I don’t have anything to say,” Nirmala’s mother Durga Devi said when asked for her comment after the court’s ruling on Thursday.
Dilip’s brother Khadak, meanwhile, expressed dissatisfaction with the court’s decision.
“How can we hope for justice when the court gives clean chit to the people involved in torture and evidence destruction? The only reason the person involved in the crime has not been identified is because the evidence was destroyed, which the court has refused to accept,” said Khadak.