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CBI files Chargesheet in Kotkhai custodial killing: 50 eyewitnesses, complete story in 600 pages

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CBI Chargesheet in Kotkhai custodial death

Shimla: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed its chargesheet against the eight officials of the Himachal Pradesh Police in the case relating to the custodial death of an accused, who was arrested for alleged rape and murder of a minor girl in Kotkhai Tehsil of Shimla district in July this year.  

The chargesheet against the SIT members, I.G. Zahur H. Zaidi, D.S.P Theog Manoj Joshi, the then SHO Kotkhai Rajender Singh, ASI Deep Chand Sharma, Head Constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal and Rafiq Ali and constable Ranjit Singh was filed in the special CBI court.  

A separate chargesheet will be filed against the former Superintendent of Police, Shimla, D.W. Negi as the investigation against him is ongoing. He was arrested on November 16 – 75 days after the arrest of the said eight accused.  

The CBI has charged the accused under Section 302, 330, 331, 348, 323, 326, 218, 195, 196, 201 and 120 B. The chargsheet contains 600 pages including annexes and statements of about 50 eyewitnesses.

What do these section of Indian Penal Code mean 

  • 301- Punishment for murder
  • 330 -Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property
  • 348 -Wrongful confinement to extort confession, or compel restoration of property
  • 326-Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means
  • 218-Public servant framing incorrect record or writing with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture
  • 195-Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment.
  • 196 -Using evidence known to be false
  • 201 -Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender
  • 120 B – Concealing design to commit offence punishable with impris­onment

The CBI chargesheet challenges the postmortem report of the local police that said the killed accused had 22 marks of injuries. As per the autopsy report of the CBI, there were 32 injury marks on the body. Most of them were caused by belt and sticks.

CBI conducts post-mortem of kotkhai accused

File Photo: CBI taking the body of killed accused for re-exmination on July 25

The chargesheet contains the details of the entire episode of the custodial killing of Suraj on the intervening night of July 18 and 19.  The CBI’s 50 eyewitnesses include the five accused who were lodged at the Kotkhai Police Station along with Suraj.

The court sent all nine accused to 14-days judicial custody at the Model Central Jail, Kanda. They will be produced in the court on December 7 after the expiry of the custody.

Again, none of the advocates representing the accused police officials appeared before the court. The court could not take any decision on the application filed by the CBI seeking permission to match voice samples of the accused.

The sources from district court said the Bar Association has rejected application of the advocates who were representing the accused cops as their counsel.

The lawyers failed to appear in the court for the fourth time in a row.

If the lawyers fail to appear in the next hearing, the applicants would have to either hire lawyers from other states or apply for a legal aid.

The barbaric nature of the crime had led to a boycott from the Bar Association too. The lawyer community had decided that none of the lawyers will represent the accused.

Despite that, some of the lawyers defied the decision of the community and defended the accused cops. The Bar Association had reportedly canceled the membership of these lawyers.

Unfortunately, the CBI doesn’t seem to have found any lead in the rape and murder of the minor girl. The arrested accused are out on bail, and the CBI couldn’t make any other arrest in the case.

The CBI team is still visiting the victim’s school and woods of Halaila. Some unofficial reports suggest that CBI has investigated almost every angle including monetary bribe.

The State High Court has directed the CBI to file a chargesheet in the case by December 30.

Top Photos: Statesman, Tribune

 

Campus Watch

HPBOSE +2 Exam Results Declared, Private Schools Grab Top Positions in All Streams

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HPBose results 2019

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh School Education Board, Dharamshala, on April 22, 2019, has declared the class 12th result, examination for which was held between 6 to March 29, 2019.

As per the Board, out of total 95,492 students appeared in +2 for science, commerce and arts streams, 58949 students passed the exam and 16102 were placed under compartment. The overall result dropped to 62.1 % from 70.18% in 2018 and 72.89% in 2017. Total 49, 136 male students appeared in the exam and 28,375 passed it.  Among total 45,784 female candidates, 30, 574 cleared the exam.

Students of private schools have grabbed the top positions in all the streams. However, the number of students of government schools is reported to be higher than private schools in the merit list.

In Arts, Ashmita Sharma (DAV School Una) became the topper by obtaining 482/500 (96.4%) marks.  In Science, Anil Kumar (Sai Star School Dhalpur, Kullu) secured the first position by obtaining 493/500 (98.6%) marks. In Commerce, Preeti Birsanta (Career Academy School, Nahan) topped with 494/500 (98.8%) marks.

Candidates can visit the HPBOSE official website to check their results. However,  with the declaration of the results, the official website of the HPBOSE has become non-responsive due to high traffic.

Students can also check the result via SMS. One can send a message to 56263 — HP12 <space> roll number to access the result via text message. In addition, the results are also available HPBOSE’s partner websites like examresults.net and indiaresults.com

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Misc News/Press Release

Kotkhai Custodial Death: After Zaidi, Ex-SP Shimla DW Negi Gets Bail Too

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dw-negi-granted bail in custodial death

Shimla-Ex-Superintendent of Police, Shimla, DW Negi, who is an accused in the custodial death in Kotkhai’s Gudiya case, is also out on bail after Ex IG Zahur H Zaidi. Zaidi was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India on April 5, 2019. He had pleaded to the court that over 19 months have passed since the filling of charge-sheet but nothing was proved in the trial so far.

On April 18, Justice Sureshwar Thakur of Himachal Pradesh High Court, granted bail to DW Negi on the same pretext. He appealed to the court that CBI has recovered nothing from him in relation to the case. Now, the chances are high that remaining seven accused police officials would also get bail using the same argument.

The conditions of his bail included furnishing personal bond in the sum of Rs 3 lakhs and two local sureties. He would have to deposit his passport with the CBI. He will have to co-operate in investigation whenever the agency requires him.

A three-member team of CBI had arrested Negi on November 16, 2016, and was in jail since then. Before Negi, CBI had arrested ex-IG Zaidi and seven others on August 29, 2016.  All seven accused police officials were booked in relation to alleged conspiracy and custodial death of a Nepalese labourer Suraj.

Suraj was among the six initial accused arrested by Zaidi-led Special Investigation Team that was formed to probe alleged gang-rape and gruesome murder of a 16-year-old school going girl in July 2016. Later, when the case was transferred to CBI, the agency found that these six accused were innocent and were framed under a police conspiracy.


CBI had filed a chargesheet against the SIT members, I.G. Zahur H. Zaidi, D.S.P Theog Manoj Joshi, the then SHO Kotkhai Rajender Singh, ASI Deep Chand Sharma, Head Constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal and Rafiq Ali and constable Ranjit Singh was filed in the special CBI court in November 2017.

The accused were charged under Section 302, 330, 331, 348, 323, 326, 218, 195, 196, 201 and 120 B. The chargsheet contains 600 pages including annexes and statements of about 50 eyewitnesses.

While granting Zaidi a bail, the Apex Court had stated in its order that;

  …Our attention has been drawn to the allegations against the accused-appellant and that he is in custody for the last 19 months. Though the accused-appellant is facing charge under Section 302, we are told that the trial has not made substantial progress beyond the framing of the charge. Completion of trial will take some time…

…the period of custody suffered and likely time that may be taken for completion of trial, we are of the view that the accused appellant should be released on bail in connection with FIR No.RC SI 2017 S0009 CBI/SC-I/New Delhi, on satisfaction of the appropriate condition(s) as may be imposed by the learned trial court…

The CBI had also pleaded in the court to shift the hearing of the case from H.P High Court to Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal. The Court did not adhere to this request and observed that the same would be considered after hearing all the accused.

Further CBI had also raised doubts that if the police officer was granted bail, he could influence and intimidate witnesses in the case as he was a high-rank police official. To this, the court observed that this cannot be a reason to deny bail at this juncture, and if such incidence comes to light then it is always open for CBI to apply for cancellation of Bail in the competent court.

The reason of delay in trial with a remark that nothing substantial had been done in the case after framing of charge had come to a major blow to the CBI.

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India’s Rank in World Press Freedom Index Drops to 140 in 2019, Report Points Out Hindutva and Nationalism Agendas

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India in world press freedom index 2019 report 2

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has been released today. As a matter of huge concern in the list of 180 countries surveyed, India has dropped down to 140th position from last year’s 138.  Norway was ranked at number one.

India has been placed close to Pakistan at 142, and Bangladesh at 150.

The overall findings showed hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media

As per the Index, threats, insults and attacks are now part of the “occupational hazards” for journalists in many countries.

“In India, where critics of Hindu nationalism are branded as “anti-Indian” in online harassment campaigns, six journalists were murdered in 2018,”

the RSF said in its Index.

Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India, the report said.

As per the RSF report, at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. A number of doubts surround a seventh case. These murders highlighted the many dangers Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.

“Attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi increased in the run-up to general elections in the spring of 2019. Those who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate,”

the report said.

“The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that aggravate Hindutva followers are alarming and include calls for the journalists concerned to be murdered. The campaigns are particularly virulent when the targets are women,”

the report noted.

Further, the RSF report said that the emergence of a #MeToo movement in the media in 2018 has lifted the veil on many cases of harassment and sexual assault to which women reporters have been subjected. It also said that criminal prosecutions are meanwhile often used to gag journalists critical of the authorities, with some prosecutors invoking Section 124a of the penal code, under which “sedition” is punishable by life imprisonment.

 The mere threat of such a prosecution encourages self-censorship.

Coverage of regions that the authorities regard as sensitive, such as Kashmir, continues to be very difficult. Foreign reporters are barred from Kashmir and the Internet is often disconnected there,

RSF report said.

It also suggested that when not detained, Kashmiri journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence.

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