The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday submitted a status report on the inquiry into the Hathras gangrape case before the Allahabad High Court, reported PTI. The agency said its inquiry would be over by December 10.

CBI counsel Anurag Singh told the Lucknow bench of the High Court that the investigation was taking time as forensic reports were awaited.

The case pertains to the gangrape of a 19-year-old Dalit woman by four upper-caste Thakur men on September 14. The woman succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Delhi on September 29. The incident garnered more attention after the woman was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on September 30 without the presence of her family members.

The bench of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Rajan Roy granted more time to the state government and amicus curie JN Mathur to deliberate on proposed modalities regarding the guidelines for cremation of the dead in Hathras-like situations. It listed the matter for hearing on December 16.

The court further expressed concern over the state government’s stand to not take action against the Hathras district magistrate. District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar had allegedly put pressure on the woman’s family to change their statement. “Do not finish your credibility,” he had reportedly told the family. “These media people...some left today and tomorrow more will leave. Only we will be here with you. Ok? It is up to you whether you want to change your statement or not. We can also change.”

Senior advocate SV Raju and Additional Advocate General VK Sahi submitted that Laxkar handled the situation following the rape and subsequent countrywide outrage in “utmost good manner”. The state government does not want to shift him anywhere, they said.

The advocates said that neither the family members of the woman indicted the district magistrate nor the investigation agency hinted that he was influencing the probe. There is no occasion to transfer or suspend him only on a whimsical demand of any political party as it would demoralise the bureaucracy, they told the court.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the Lucknow bench also dismissed the demands of lawyer Seema Kushwaha, who is representing the Dalit woman’s family, of allocating them a house in Delhi. The court said that it has taken suo motu cognisance of a limited matter and that the demand was not an adversarial litigation.

In October, the Supreme Court had directed the Allahabad High Court to monitor the CBI investigation. Earlier in the month, the Allahabad High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case and the events leading up to the woman’s cremation. It had said the government’s decision to cremate the woman in the middle of the night, even though done in the name of the law and order situation, was prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family.

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