The local police and administration botched up the investigation into the rape and murder of the Dalit woman in Perumbavoor, Kerala, as a result of political pressure, a National Commission for Women panel had said in a report. The report claims that the investigating authorities might not have conducted a fair probe because of “political considerations”.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday quoted from the report at a press event, saying the crime scene might have been contaminated and the police had not paid heed to the family’s past complaints of harassment by neighbours. Gandhi said the woman and her mother had complained to the police about rape and murder threats, but no action had been taken.

The woman’s mother had also fought with the local panchayat leader’s brother-in-law, who was part of the Left Front, Gandhi added. However, this man has not been interrogated. The three-member panel, headed by NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam, has noted the discrepancies and relayed them to the chief election commissioner, Gandhi said.

The state and police’s poor handling of the case has caused massive outrage and protests (pictured above). Police reportedly did not send a forensics team, nor did they cordon off the victim’s residence till at least four days after she was found dead near her home.