Home Minister Thapa links police lapses to probe delayHome Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has blamed multiple lapses during investigation by the district police for the delay in nabbing the culprits in the rape and murder of Nirmala Pant, a teenager from Bhimdutta in Kanchapur.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has blamed multiple lapses during investigation by the district police for the delay in nabbing the culprits in the rape and murder of Nirmala Pant, a teenager from Bhimdutta in Kanchapur.
He also revealed that the finger print of the victim’s father Yagya Raj was forged while handing over Nirmala’s body to the family for cremation. Answering to the State Affairs Committee of Parliament on Wednesday, Thapa said that the deed prepared on July 27 carries the supposed finger print of Yagya Raj even though he had arrived from India only the next day.
The home minister said such intentional lapses by the local police were motivated at destroying the evidence. “It’s shameful to see what the local police did,” he told the committee. “It also burnt Pant’s clothes as an attempt to destroy the evidence.”
He claimed that the government had deployed a team from the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police after sensing a foul play at the local level within two days. However, the team was also clueless about the culprit in the lack of proof. The government has suspended Superintendent of Police Dilli Raj Bista, then chief of the Kanchanpur district police, and five other officials after finding their dubious role in investigation.
Though three teams have been formed to look into the case so far, there has been no progress towards providing justice for the victim. Sixty-one days since Pant’s body was found in a sugarcane field, there are no substantial leads in the case.
Following public outrage, the police, on the 25th day of the incident, detained a mentally ill Dilip Singh Bista, the 41-year-old resident of Bhimdutta Municipality-19, on August 19. Bista was paraded before the media the next day as the main culprit. He was released as the police’s perceived bid to frame him while protecting the real culprits of the heinous crime was not backed by evidence.
“The government is seriously working to conclude the investigation as soon as possible. I want to stress that the culprits will be booked for sure,” said Minister Thapa. To the question when the guilty would be nabbed, he said: “We are no astrologers to give the exact day.”
Lawmakers including Jhapat Rawal of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) claimed that the delay in investigation had defamed both the government and the police. He argued that the incident revealed a break in the chain of command in Nepal Police. Inspector General Sarbendra Khanal said that Nepal Police shouldn’t be judged on the basis of a single case. “I would like to assure you that we are capable of investigating the case and delivering justice to the victims,” he told the House committee.
However, neither Thapa nor Khanal gave any details of the report submitted by a team led by Joint-secretary Hari Prasad Mainali to the home minister on Tuesday even as the lawmakers enquired