Hathras case: CBI chargesheet raises serious questions on UP police claims

The chargesheet filed on Dec 18 indicting four suspects disputes UP police claims and says the victim had spurned a suspect who felt ‘frustrated’

An activist holds a placard during a protest after the death of the rape victim in Hathras. Photo: Twitter

The CBI chargesheet in the gangrape and murder in the Hathras case filed in the SC/ST court on December 18 against four suspects has several points that contest the initial police claims in the aftermath of the hush-hush cremation of the 19-year-old Dalit victim.

The first point that the chargesheet highlights is the very fact that the rape did take place, which the UP police had contested. The police’s ‘no-rape’ argument had been amplified by Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar, drawing severe flak from social activists as well as former police officers.

The CBI has invoked charges of gangrape and murder against four upper caste men — Ravi, Lavkush, Sandeep and Ramkumar alias Ramu — on the basis of the dying statement made by the victim before a magistrate on Sept 22.

The second fact brought out by the CBI chargesheet is that the Dalit woman had spurned Sandeep, leading to a “change in their relationship.” It had “frustrated Sandeep,” according to a report in The Indian Express.

The chargesheet says the Uttar Pradesh police, despite the woman naming three people in her statement on September 19, recorded the name of only one. It further states that “though the victim alleged molestation, her medical examination regarding sexual assault was not conducted”.

The four accused face charges under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376-A (punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim), 376-D (gangrape) and 302 (murder) and the SC/ST Act.

The woman was assaulted allegedly by the four on September 14, and died a fortnight later at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. The four accused have been in judicial custody since their arrest in September.

Also read: CBI probe in Hathras case to be monitored by Allahabad HC, says SC

The Express report quoting the chargesheet said the woman and Sandeep lived nearby and that “he developed acquaintance with the victim two/three years back which gradually turned into love affair”. It states that “it also came on record” that they “used to meet in isolated places”, and that “these facts are supported by many villagers”.

Also read: Hathras case: UP STF pursues 4 suspects in ‘plot’ to trigger caste violence

Meanwhile, NDTV quoted a senior BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh as hinting that the state police failed to do their job properly in handling the Hathras case.

“The UP government has always stood with the family,” UP Minister of State for Labour Sunil Bharala told NDTV. “Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had decided the CBI should take over the case. He also did not trust that police will do their job well. It’s not like all police officers are good… Right from Day 1, the CM has been with the family,” Mr Bharala said.

The state government had set up a three-member SIT to probe the role of the police authorities in the case, but later after political clamour and a nationwide outrage, the probe was handed over to the CBI. The probe agency lodged a case on October 11.

The CBI constituted a 15-member team and handed over the probe to its Ghaziabad unit under Deputy SP Seema Pahuja.