The Central Bureau of Investigation, in its chargesheet filed in the Hathras gangrape case, has said that the delay in the medical examination of the 19-year-old woman led to the loss of crucial evidence, The Times of India reported on Sunday. The chargesheet was filed at a special court in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh.
The investigation agency also said that the police did not follow the proper procedure to record the complainant’s statement after her family approached them on September 14.
The CBI said in its chargesheet that the woman was not sent for a medical examination even though she had mentioned “zabardasti” (the accused forcing himself on her) in one of the recordings.
The agency added that she used the word “chedkhani”– teasing or verbally harassing – in another statement five days after the crime, but the police still did not send her for a medical examination. “Neither Section 354 (use of force with intention to rape) of the Indian Penal Code or Section 376 (rape) of the IPC was added by the police in the beginning,” CBI said.
The chargesheet said that the woman was sent for a medical check only after she used the term “balatkaar” or rape and spoke about the four accused in a statement at the Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College on September 22.
“The above negligence during the handling of the case by police as well as concerned authorities clearly led to delay in examination of victim,” the CBI said in its concluding remarks for the chargesheet. It added that evidence could not be collected on time due to the lapses.
An unidentified senior police official told The Times of India that five officers were suspended as soon as the lapses came to light. “Our probe was going in the right direction and all four accused were arrested immediately after the girl named them,” the officer said. “The CBI took our FIR [first information report] which had all the sections under which the accused have been charged.”
The CBI chargesheet claimed that the complainant had been in a relationship with the main accused Sandeep Thakur, but did not link it to the crime. The agency said that according to call records, 105 calls were made between numbers in the accused’s name and those belonging to the complainant’s family between October 17, 2019 and March 3, 2020.
The CBI stated that the woman’s family came to know about their relationship and the woman stopped speaking to Thakur after March. It said that the accused tried to contact her but she did not respond, because of which he became “frustrated”. The CBI chargesheet also confirmed the presence of the four accused in Boolgarhi village at the time of the incident. Last week, the CBI had formally charged them for the crime.
The Hathras case
The 19-year-old Dalit woman had succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in Delhi on September 29 after four upper-caste men gangraped her. The case also triggered outrage after the woman was cremated in the dead of the night without the presence of her family members.
On October 27, 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 Uttar Pradesh 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.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court bench had on October 6 called the incident “extraordinary” and “shocking”. It had also directed the Central Reserve Police Force to provide security to the woman’s family and witnesses in the case.
On November 25, the CBI submitted a status report on the inquiry into the Hathras gangrape case before the Allahabad High Court. The agency had then said its inquiry would be over by December 10. However on December 16, it asked for more time from the Allahabad High Court to conclude its investigation.