CBI arrests 8 Himachal cops, including IG, over custodial death of accused

Shimla, Aug 30:  A top Himachal Pradesh police officer was among eight personnel arrested on Tuesday by the CBI which is investigating the custodial death of a Nepali labourer, a suspect in the rape and murder of a minor schoolgirl in Shimla.

Inspector general Zahur Haidar Zaidi was leading the special investigation team looking into the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in the Kotkhai area of Shimla in early July before the CBI took over the probe into the crime that shook the hill state and saw massive protests.

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“The accused were produced before the court on Tuesday and they have been remanded to police custody till September 4,” CBI spokesman Abhishek Dayal said.

The others who were arrested are deputy superintendent of police Manoj Joshi and five personnel of the Kotkhai police station, including in-charge Rajinder Singh, where Suraj Singh was killed allegedly by a co-accused.

All the six suspects in the rape case were lodged in the Kotkhai police station, which was set on fire by angry locals after Singh’s murder. Locals said the probe was botched up and police had not arrested the real accused.

The CBI, which has questioned more than 100 people, has not said anything about the role of the policemen in the death of the 29-year-old labourer, whose wife accused the police of framing her husband.

The Himachal Pradesh government and police faced severe criticism for their handling of the case, as people blocked roads and held candlelight vigils demanding justice for the Class 10 student who was found dead in the woods of Halaila village on July 4.

A close relative of a Himachal Pradesh law officer was a suspect in the rape case, CBI sources said, adding he had been questioned by the agency.

The CBI took over the probe into the rape-and-murder case and the custodial death on July 22 on the orders of the Himachal Pradesh high court.

The court on August 17 expressed dissatisfaction with the probe in both cases and gave the CBI two more weeks to complete the investigation.

Source Hindustan Times

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