New Delhi: The CBI on Tuesday (August 29) arrested inspector general of police Zahur H. Zaidi, deputy superintendent of police Manoj Joshi and six other police personnel over the custodial death of one of the accused in the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in Shimla last month, Indian Express reported.
The girl had gone missing while returning from school on July 4 and her body was found two days later in the Halaila forests of Mahasu in Kotkhai.
The team of eight policemen who have been arrested were part of a special investigation team (SIT), headed by Zaidi, set up on July 9 to probe the case.
“The CBI arrested eight police officials of Himachal Pradesh, including an IGP… In an ongoing investigation of a case relating to the custodial death of an accused, Suraj Singh,” CBI spokesperson R.K. Gaur told the Indian Express.
The Shimla district court has sent the eight arrested to CBI custody till September 4.
The others were station house officer of the Kotkhai police station Rajinder Singh, assistant sub inspector Deep Chand Sharma, who was the investigating officer in the case, head constables Mohan Lal, Surat Singh and Rafiq Ali and constable Ranjit Singh, according to the report.
The accused who died in custody, Suraj Singh, 29, was a labourer from Nepal. The police had claimed that he had been killed in his cell at the Kotkhai police station by Rajender Singh – the main accused in the rape and murder case – on the night of July 18. Protesters had burnt down the police station the next day.
Following the death and widespread protests, Zaidi was moved from being IG (southern range, Shimla) to IG (welfare and administration), reported the Times of India.
The post-mortem report, CBI sources and the police station’s night guard’s statement, however, contradicted this and said that Singh had not been killed in his cell.
They say that Suraj had been taken for questioning and was brought back in critical condition. “He was taken to the local government hospital around midnight where he was declared dead,” a police officer told the Indian Express.
Mamta, Suraj’s wife, who lives near Shimla, said that her husband had been falsely accused in the rape and murder case. She also said that Rajender, who is being blamed for his murder, was like a brother to Suraj and would never have killed him.
The CBI had registered two FIRs, one on the rape and murder of the girl, and the other on Suraj’s death while in custody, following the protests.