An independent fact-finding team has alleged “severe lapses” in the police investigation into the rape and murder of a woman in Kerala's Perumbavoor town last month. The team, which calls itself the Group of Intellectuals and Academicians, has called for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the incident, reported PTI.

“Police tried to mislead the people initially by terming it as a suicide case,” said Monika Arora, the group's convener, who is also a Supreme Court advocate. “The Circle Inspector, who first probed the case, described it as a suspicious case of death. Initially the case was registered under the charges of trespass and murder. The charges of rape and sexual assault were added only after the local media broke the story,” she added.

The group also said that the crime scene was not sealed by the police for nearly 10 days after the incident. “From 9.30 pm on April 28 to 12.30 pm the next day, people were entering the room where the crime happened and clicked pictures, shared it on WhatsApp and police remained a mute spectator,” Arora said. “Material evidence in the form of finger prints, shoe prints and others had been destroyed because of the non-sealing of the crime scene,” she added.

The group also asked for police officials who allegedly tried to “mislead and misguide” the people and tried to cover up the incident to be identified and punished according to law. The group would be submitting its report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the National Commission for Women, the SC/ST Commission and the National Human Rights Commission.