KANCHANPUR, Aug 29: On July 27, Nirmala Pant of Bhimdatta Municipality-2 had gone to her friend's house to study but she was raped and subsequently murdered. Immediately after finding her lifeless body, her family and relatives launched protests to pressurize the police and the authorities concerned to launch investigation into the case and take action against whoever was responsible for the heinous crime.
Dissatisfied with police investigation, Nirmala's relatives refused to claim her body for four days. Only after the police made a written commitment to find the culprit, did the family performed her final rites on July 30.
However, instead of finding the real culprit, police investigation got centered on only proving an innocent person guilty.
In the first month of the investigation, police arrested Deepak Negi of Kanchanpur and Jeevan Gharti Magar of Kailali suspecting their connection to the incident. While Jeevan is mentally unstable, Deepak is an HIV-infected and is physically very weak. The police used temptation, threats and fear to make them accept the crime they had not committed.
According to a reliable source, police first tried to persuade Deepak to own up the crime. “You are infected and weak. If you own up to the crime, we'll take good care of you in the prison and also provide you good food,” Deepak was told.
However, after he refused and all the evidence suggested that he does not have the physical strength to commit the crime, police tried to frame mentally-ill Jeevan. They sensed that Jeevan would have no one to defend him and he cannot defend himself, making him an easy target.
Their attempts failed as locals did not believe police and accused them of trying to frame innocent people and protect the real culprit. After failed attempts, police released both Jeevan and Deepak on August 5.
“Due to the wrongful report submitted by police, Minister for Home Affairs submitted inaccurate details to parliament. They left no stone unturned to hide their inefficiency, protect the culprit and frame the innocent,” said Lokendra Bista, a local.
Desperate to show progress in their investigation, police reached the house of Chakradev Badu on August 14. His home is near the site of the murder at Ukhubari. They arrested him and his 15-year-old sister Laxmi and 11-year-old brother Gautam. The two minors were released on the same day but Chakradev was released only after 11 days.
“They mentally tortured me to accept the crime I had not committed. They would ask irrelevant questions that I cannot remember answers of. They asked me what cloth I was wearing on that day and what vegetable I ate among other irrelevant questions,” said Chakradev.
He added that police made every effort to threaten and persuade him to own up the crime. “If I acknowledge that I committed the crime, police said I would get a reduced punishment and also a financial compensation. But I did not commit it and will not accept responsibility for it.”
According to him, police finally resorted to threats. “Police threatened to kill me and throw my body in Mahakali River if I do not accept the responsibility for the crime. But I did not budge from my stance.”
Police also arrested Dillip Singh Bista, 41, of Bhimdatta-19. He is another mentally-challenged person from a very poor family and begs for survival. On August 20, police organized a press conference and claimed that Dillip committed the crime and tried to justify it by giving wrong details of his behavior.
However, locals of his ward did not believe it as police's stated behaviors of Dillip as they knew him well. Not just the locals of the ward, the almost every resident of Mahendranagar rejected him as the culprit.
Locals are outrageous with police's attempt to frame innocent persons instead of using resources to find the real culprit.