Shimla, Aug 17 (IANS) Pulling up the CBI over the slow pace of investigation in the gang-rape and murder of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Shimla district, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday granted it two weeks more to complete the probe.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma also asked the state polices’ Special Investigation Team (SIT), led by Inspector General Zahur H. Zaidi, to appear before the court on Friday again and submit its investigation report. Zaidi and his team members were summoned during the hearing on Thursday.
Before the case was handed to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the SIT was handling the case.
During the resumed hearing, the CBI, which submitted its final status report, sought one month time to complete the investigation, but the court directed it to complete the investigation within two weeks.
The bench also got tough when it came to know that the CBI officials associated with the case were running their camp office from state-run guest house-cum-hotel Peterhoff here and directed them to vacate it immediately.
In a related development, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said besides best efforts by the state police to arrest the culprits involved in the gang-rape and murder of a schoolgirl, a lot of hullabaloo was created by the Opposition.
“I personally wrote to the Prime Minister to hand over the case to the CBI not because our police was inefficient but taking into consideration the voice of the people,” he said at a function to mark the passing out parade of 16th batch of police recruits at Daroh in Kangra district.
“Now the CBI is dealing with the case and asked for three months extra time to submit the status report in the case, but the high court ordered them to submit it in two weeks,” he said.
The CBI should not make further delay and should go ahead to nab the culprits at the earliest, the Chief Minister added.
Police said the 16-year-old girl was offered a lift in a vehicle by the accused on July 4 when she was returning home from school in Kotkhai town, some 56 from the state capital.
On the way, they raped and murdered her in a nearby forest. Her naked body with injury marks was found two days later.
The arrested persons are prime accused Rajinder Singh, who offered her the lift, Ashish Chauhan, Subhash Bisht, Deepak Kumar, Suraj Singh and Lokjan.
The autopsy report mentioned injuries on the girl’s body.
However, a new twist in the case came after Rajinder Singh allegedly murdered a fellow accused Surat Singh in the police lock-up in Shimla on July 19.
Following the gang rape of the girl, people held massive protests in Himachal Pradesh. The family of the victim alleged that the “real culprits”, who belong to high-profile families, have gotten away “scot-free”.
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