Hathras case: CBI begins investigation, victim’s family questioned

Sources said the 15-member team, including forensic experts, arrived at Hathras around 11.30 am and first went to the crime scene, where they recreated the incident and video-recorded the proceedings.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team reached Hathras on Tuesday, beginning the investigation into the alleged gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by four upper caste men.

Sources said the 15-member team, including forensic experts, arrived at Hathras around 11.30 am and first went to the crime scene, where they recreated the incident and video-recorded the proceedings. The Forensics team made a detailed examination of the spot, sources said. The deceased’s brother was also called to the spot.

The team spent around three hours at the spot before heading to the house of the victim, where they interrogated the brother. They also called for his mother, who was then said to be in a hospital, and later met CBI officials.

Sources said both the brother and the mother have been subjected to detailed questioning and may be called for questioning again. “Inconsistencies have been alleged in the brother’s statements, so he is being questioned. The family is being questioned to understand the entire sequence of events,” a source privy to the investigation details said.

The CBI team also went to the spot where the victim was cremated by the state administration allegedly without the consent of her family members. The team, sources said, spent about 45 minutes at the spot and also made some video recordings. “The forced cremation of the teenager and the circumstances that led to it are a matter of investigation,” the source said.

Sources said the team will camp in Hathras for the next few days to conduct investigations, collect evidence and question people associated with the case.

“All documents associated with the case, from recorded statements of family members to forensic and autopsy reports, have already been taken from authorities concerned. Based on these, further investigation will be carried out,” the source said.

The agency will also seek custody of the four accused arrested in the case and question them. Sources said UP police officers involved in the probe will also be examined. Doctors of Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, Aligarh Muslim University and Hathras will be formally summoned by the CBI and questioned, they said.

The CBI has also attached DSP Seema Pahuja, who investigated the Kotkhai rape case of Himachal Pradesh, with the team which has ASP VK Shukla, DSP RR Tripathi and inspector S Sreemathy among others.

The 19-year old woman was allegedly raped by four men on September 14. She succumbed to severe assault injuries at a Delhi hospital a fortnight later. The matter acquired a controversial tone after the administration allegedly forced a late night cremation of the victim’s body despite protests from her family members.

Faced with public anger and the Opposition’s protests, the state government decided to give the case to the CBI, which took over after a central government notification on Saturday.

The UP police had registered a case of attempt to murder based on a statement by the victim’s brother, who, as per the FIR at Chandpa police station, had said the accused had tried to strangulate his sister in a millet field and escaped when she raised an alarm.

The notification issued by the Centre on the request of the state government had asked the CBI to probe rape, murder and atrocity and “any attempt, abetment and/or conspiracy, in relation to or in connection with such offence(s) and/or for any other offence committed in the course of the same transaction or arising out of the same facts”.

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