KANCHANPUR, Aug 30: The rape and murder of Nirmala Panta sparked outrage across the country while the latest twist in the story has raised quite a few eyebrows. The chopping down of a guava tree in the garden of Nirmala's friend Roshani Bam has made the locals suspicious of foul play.
Police had recovered a guava wrapped in a plastic bag from the place where Nirmala's bag and cycle was found. Roshani had visited Nirmala's house on July 25 and invited her the next day to eat guava and to do homework together.
"We knew that there was something fishy when the guava tree was chopped off. Especially because a guava was found from the place where my daughter's belongings were found," said Nirmala's father Yagyaraj.
The tree, which had fruits all over, was chopped six days after recovering the body of Nirmala. Roshani's father Dipendra Bahadur claimed that the tree was cut as the locals passing by the road often used to steal guavas, making the wall very weak.
"Children often used stop by to pick guavas by climbing the wall which had weakened the wall. We also didn't want anyone to get hurt by falling from the tree and that's why we chopped it," said Dipendra.
When Nirmala's mother reached Roshani's house to search for her daughter, Roshani's elder sister Babita did not just misbehave with her but also prevented her from entering the house. Nirmala's mother Durgadevi stated that she was suspicious of the involvement of Bam sisters in the murder from the very beginning.
"It is quite suspicious that they chopped off the guava tree from the base when it had fruits all over it," said Nirmala's neighbor Moti Bahadur Nepal, adding, "We want police to investigate this."
When asked by Republica team, Roshani said that Nirmala had picked a few guavas by herself and left for home.
Even after continuous rainfall, it was surprising that Nirmala's books were not wet. As the dead body was found in a sugarcane field with one feet deep water, no fingerprints could be taken. As per the postmortem report, Nirmala was raped and then killed by squeezing her throat. A new probe committee has taken Bam sisters under custody and begun investigation from scratch.