MAHENDRANGAR, Sept 8: Inspector General of Police, Sarbendra Khanal, on Friday admitted that there were “some lapses” on the part of the police while investigating the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta. The police chief also vowed to book the culprits, whatever the costs.
“Police made some mistakes while investigating this case,” said IGP Khanal, who had arrived here in course of attending a national campaign launched to deter violence against women. “We will book those involved in this incident, whatever the costs.”
At the function organized by the National Planning Commission, the police chief said he was saddened by accusations that the police were protecting the rapist and murderer. “The police had never faced this type of accusation before,” said Khanal.
Stating that a high-level investigation panel was probing the case, the IGP gave assurances of not intervening in the probe. He urged locals to assist the investigations.
“As police chief, I won’t tolerate any interference by any power. And I will take action against any entity involved in the case even if the culprit is my own organization,” he said, adding that the Kanchanpur case has been a lesson for the Nepal Police.
Khanal instructed police officials to maintain a high level of integrity to check social malpractices and said he would put a halt to wrongful practices such as torturing the innocent to force them to confess.
“Nepal Police has been shamed by a handful of bad apples. We won’t let the culprit go scot-free even if the person is a VIP or VVIP,” said the police chief.
Nirmala, a 13-year-old schoolgirl, was found raped and murdered while returning from her friend Roshani Bam’s house. Police found the body a day after she went missing.
Police have detained Roshani and her sister Babita and their interrogations are underway, according to DSP Krishna Raj Ojha.
Police also arrested Dilip Singh Bista, a mentally unstable local, in connection with the rape and murder case. They are now testing his mental condition and his DNA, in Kathmandu.
Soon after the incident, a team led by DSP Anghur GC had started a probe. After interviewing locals, the team from the Central Investigation Bureau concluded that Bista was the culprit. Locals, however, protested the CIB conclusion, saying the real perpetrators were being let off the hook due to political pressure.
Sanni Khuna, a 15-year-old, was shot dead when hundreds of people protested in the street. Another local, Chetan Bhandari, lost his left leg in the police firing.
Following the deadly protests, the Ministry of Home Affairs formed a five-member investigation team.
The Kanchanpur police chief, the chief district officer and other senior officials have already been transferred back to Kathmandu. The new probe committee is starting from scratch.
Concerned over the growing complications in the case, IGP Khanal also met the family of the murdered girl.