New Delhi: The chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Hathras rape-and-murder case faulted the Uttar Pradesh Police for ignoring the 19-year-old Dalit woman’s statement in which she named three people and mentioning the name of only one person, according to an Indian Express report.
“Though the victim alleged molestation, her medical examination regarding sexual assault was not conducted,” the chargesheet adds.
The four accused men – Sandeep (20), his uncle Ravi (35) and their friends Ramu (26) and Luv Kush (23) – have been charged under IPC sections 376 (rape), 376 (D) (gangrape), 302 (murder) and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The CBI invoking charges of rape is significant as senior officials of the UP administration and police had disputed that the victim was raped, pointing to the medical examination which said there were no signs of vaginal or anal intercourse.
The CBI said its findings are based on the dying statement of the woman, in addition to scientific and forensic evidence, and statements of witnesses and the victim’s family, according to Hindustan Times.
The woman died a fortnight after she was raped allegedly by the four Thakur men on September 14. As per reports, the accused had tried to strangulate her to death, and the woman suffered multiple fractures while her tongue had been slashed in the brutal assault.
She was cremated in the middle of the night in her village, without the family’s consent. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the UP government had claimed that there was a criminal conspiracy to malign the Yogi Adityanath administration, spread caste conflict, instigating violence, incidents of vicious propaganda by “sections of media and political interests”.
Chargesheet says victim, accused were in a relationship
Using call detail records (CDRs), the chargesheet also says that the woman and the accused Sandeep had been in a relationship. When the woman stopped taking the accused’s calls, it “aggravated his feelings” and “frustrated” him.
According to the Indian Express, before the relationship turned sour, they “used to meet in isolated places”, and “these facts are supported by many villagers” the chargesheet says.
“Investigation further revealed that when family member of the victim came to know about the mobile calls exchanged between victim and Sandeep, they had a wordy quarrel with Sandeep’s family in front of his house. This incident was witnessed by several villagers… Subsequently, the victim’s father also made oral complaint to (the pradhan’s son) about the phone calls made by the accused to the victim, as confirmed by witnesses…” the chargesheet stated.
An analysis of CDRs of both the accused and the victim indicate that from October 2019 to March 2020, the relationship between Sandeep and the woman was in “good form”. There were short duration (signal) calls from the side of victim to Sandeep, which were followed by long duration calls from accused Sandeep to victim’s family number.
After March 2020, no calls were made from the victim’s family number to either of Sandeep’s numbers, which shows that their relation/affair was “disturbed”, the report added.
However, according to the chargesheet, after March 20 this year, Sandeep had tried to contact the victim from various numbers of his friends and relatives, which the victim’s family members got to know, “souring the relationship further”.
The victim’s brother told the Indian Express, “There was absolutely no acquaintance between my sister and the accused, Sandeep. He had obtained our number from somewhere and would make prank calls, pretending to be someone else. A couple of missed calls as well. Besides that, no calls had been exchanged. The entire village is against us and I believe they would say anything to falsify the crime that took place.”
The chargesheet mentioned that Sandeep had asked a person to call on the victim’s family number and connect him on a conference call, the report added. “During examination, (the person) also stated that the victim was avoiding accused Sandeep and his mobile calls for some time. Because of her changed behaviour, Sandeep was in frustration,” the chargesheet stated. It further added that he suspected she was having “an affair” with someone. “This change in their relationship aggravated the feelings of accused Sandeep,” it stated.
On the allegations against the accused, the chargesheet stated: “During her examination on September 22, the victim categorically stated that she was gangraped by the four accused persons; she also named them in her dying declaration… It establishes that on September 14, the victim was gangraped at the bajra field when she was alone. Investigation also revealed that all four accused were present in the village or nearby place, which corroborates the allegation of the victim.”
The chargesheet also states that a medical examination of the victim was carried out by a doctor from the Department of Forensic Medicine at AMU on September 22 and the final opinion stated that “there are no signs of vaginal/anal intercourse. There are evidences of physical assault (injuries over the neck and the back)”.
After the CBI took over, a Multi-Institutional Medical Board (MIMB) was constituted by the Forensic Department at AIIMS, which stated, “The possibility of sexual assault can’t be ruled out as minimal bleeding was detected microscopically after one week of assault as alleged in the case. However, pattern of injuries sustained during an incident of sexual violence may show considerable variation. This may range from complete absence of injuries (more frequently) to grievous injuries (very rare). In this case, since there was a delay in reporting/documentation/forensic examination for sexual assault, these factors could be responsible for absence of significantly visible signs of genital injury.”