KANCHANPUR, Aug 31: After finding Nirmala Pant' body, police personnel washed the suruwal worn by her in order to destroy evidence, it has been learnt. Although police are supposed to take precautions to preserve evidence at the scene of a suspected crime, their act of washing a clothing item which was worn by the victim and which could contain valuable evidence such as blood and other body fluids, has raised further suspicions about their motives. “Police personnel and four locals including myself were in the sugarcane field looking for Nirmala. We found her lifeless body lying face down. A female police in civil dress pulled off her suruwal in front of my own eyes and washed it three times in some stagnant water nearby,” Keshav Bhandari, uncle of the deceased, told Republica.
According to Bhandari, the policewoman, who was among a team of police officials including an inspector, washed the victim's suruwal in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence. “I recorded the whole incident on video that I took with my mobile phone. I have the evidence,” he said .
According to Deputy Inspector General Suraj KC at the Province 7 Police Office, the first responsibility of police personnel is to safeguard evidence at a crime scene. “However, as Nirmala's case was referred here just last week, I don't know about the actions of police personnel in the field.”
Locals said Nirmala's suruwal could contain the body fluids of the rapist and other evidence. “Washing it indicates that police were making conscious efforts to destroy evidence and protect the guilty,” said Ratan Ojha, a local.
Another police official, requesting anonymity, also said police are supposed to protect a crime scene to safeguard evidence.
“They are supposed to rope off the crime scene and prevent anyone from touching anything . But if the police did indeed do something unusual like washing the clothes worn by the victim, we have to suspect their intentions.”
Former DIG Sharad Chand said washing cloth with cold water could destroy evidence such as blood stains. “But if it was only washed with water and not touched during the washing, it is possible to identify the culprit through fingerprint evidence,” he said.