New Delhi: More than two months after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took over the probe into the alleged gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, the agency Thursday filed a charge sheet against the four accused.
According to a source in CBI, the charge sheet has been filed under sections of gang rape, murder and the SC/ST Act, based on the last statement given by the victim on 22 September, which was considered her “dying declaration”.
The woman was allegedly raped by four Thakur men in Hathras on 14 September. She died two weeks later on 29 September at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The victim was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on 30 September, with her family alleging it was forced by the local police to hurriedly conduct her last rites.
“The charge sheet has been filed after a thorough probe. The victim’s statement just before she died was considered, along with results of the forensic tests of the clues from the spot,” a source said, adding that none of the men accused of the crime is a minor.
The four accused are Sandeep, 20; his uncle Ravi, 35; and their friends Ramu, 26, and Luvkush, 23.
The case was investigated by the Ghaziabad branch of the CBI. The agency had told the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court Wednesday that it would file a charge sheet in the Hathras case by Friday.
Senior advocate and amicus curiae Jaideep Narain Mathur had told the court that all the materials available with the court, which include videos and CDs connected with the case, will be viewed in the video conference room of the high court days before the next hearing, which is scheduled for 27 December.
Family content with probe
Speaking to ThePrint, the woman’s brother said the family had moved closer to justice with the CBI’s probe reaching a logical conclusion. He now expects a speedy trial for the case and a death sentence for the accused.
“Finally we are close to justice. The upper-caste men here started shaming my dead sister and family after doubts were created by the local police about the authenticity of the case. There were attempts of character assassination. Nobody here, including the local administration, stood by us,” the brother alleged.
“These past months have been very difficult for us. We are content with the CBI’s probe, but now punishment should be delivered to the four men who have killed my sister. The case should not go on for years, and all of them should be hanged,” he said.
The brother added that he had feared being framed in a case of ‘honour killing’ after the accused Sandeep wrote a letter to Hathras superintendent of police, alleging that it was the woman’s mother and brother who killed her after they came to know about their “affair”.
“We felt that we will be falsely implicated in a case of honour killing, but we are happy that the CBI did their job with complete honesty,” the brother said.
‘Hold the administration responsible’
Advocate Seema Kushwaha, representing the woman’s family, told ThePrint that the CBI’s probe seems thorough, but fails to hold the UP Police responsible for spreading misinformation.
“The CBI should now hold the Hathras police officers, then-SP Vikrant Vir and District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar, responsible for their negligence and delay in filing of the case. ADG Prashant Kumar had stated that the girl was not raped, why was he not made an accused?” Kushwaha asked.
“Because of these officers, the girl’s family was harassed and tortured and a fake narrative was created and spread. The administration has to be answerable and a case should be registered against them,” the advocate added.