Suspended police officers deny negligence in investigationTwo suspended senior police officers have denied negligence while investigating into Nirmala Pant’s rape and murder case.
Two suspended senior police officers have denied negligence while investigating into Nirmala Pant’s rape and murder case. The Ministry of Home Affairs received separate clarifications from suspended Kanchanpur Police Chief SP Dilli Raj Bista and Inspector Jagdish Bhatta on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Home Ministry had dispatched a letter to the Nepal Police Headquarters demanding the suspended officers’ clarifications on the grave accusations against them that had compelled Nepal Police to recommend their dismissal.
Both officers were given 24-hour ultimatum as per the legal procedure to submit their clarifications to the ministry. On October 15, Inspector General (IG) Sarbendra Khanal had recommended to the ministry to dismiss both officers for their dubious role in tampering with the evidence in the 13-year-old girl’s rape and murder. Home Ministry Spokesperson Ram Krishna Subedi confirmed receiving the clarification letters from Nepal Police headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.
Since Bista and Bhatta have been kept along with 24 other accused officers at the headquarters, the ministry received the clarification letters through Nepal Police. Home Ministry officials will analyse the two letters to take further IG Khanal’s ecommendation to dismiss the two officers.
“Dismissing a police officer is not an easy procedure. The accusations will be minutely analysed along with their clarifications. The decision will be announced only after the ministry is fully convinced by the either side,” Subedi told the Post.
Newly appointed Nepal Police Spokesperson SSP Uttam Raj Subedi said, “If the Home Ministry finds their clarifications on the accusations incomplete, they would be told to explain further. It is uncertain how long the clarification process would take.” Bista and Bhatta are the first officers facing dismissals among 24 other investigated by the probe team under AIG Dhiru Basnyat for their complicity in the case.
The recommendation to dismiss the two officers followed analysis of the report submitted by the committee led by Joint-secretary Hari Prasad Mainali, IG Khanal’s field visit and preliminary briefing of AIG Basnyat. The final report of Basnyat’s investigating team is expected soon.The suspended officers tampered with the evidence at the crime scene where Nirmala’s body was found. SP Bista is accused of parading innocent and mentally ill Dilip Singh Bista, 41, as the main suspect.
It is almost three months since Nirmala was found dead on July 27. Nepal Police are yet to identify the rapists and murderers in the controversial case where police officers are under as much scrutiny as the plethora of suspects. Inexplicably, Nepal Police have not found the reason for its officers tampering with evidence at the crime scene. With the investigation and probe meandering for so long, there was public outcry and mass protests with civil rights group activists joining the fight for delivering justice to Nirmala. The mass protests, put on hold because of Dashain festival, could resume soon with the investigation still dragging on.