Hathras case: CBI files chargesheet against 4 for gangrape, murder

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New Delhi, Dec 18 (PTI) The CBI on Friday filed a chargesheet against the four men accused of the gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in a village in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

After nearly two months of probe, the agency concluded in its final report that the accused -- Sandeep, Ravi, Luv Kush and Ramu -- allegedly gangraped and murdered the woman when she had gone to the fields to collect fodder on September 14 in her village Bhulgarhi, they said.

In its findings submitted before the competent court in Hathras, the agency has slapped Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections pertaining to rape, murder and gangrape apart from those under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the four accused men from the village, they said.

The maximum sentence in the above charges is capital punishment.

The agency has based its findings on the dying statement of the woman in which she is understood to have named the accused, besides scientific and forensic evidence collected by the CBI and statements of witnesses and the victim's family members recorded by it.

The findings submitted by the CBI have left red faced the top officials of Uttar Pradesh Police who had claimed that no evidence of rape was found in forensic tests.

Uttar Pradesh's Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar had said, 'The report of the FSL has come. It says clearly that samples did not contain semen. It makes clear that there was no rape or gangrape'.

The ADG had also claimed that the woman in her statement to police 'did not mention rape but talked about ''maar-peet' (beating) only'.

An embarrassed Uttar Pradesh government had to hand over the case to the CBI after the incident triggered massive public outrage and a political slugfest.

Coming close on the heels of Unnao rape case in which Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a former BJP MLA, was sentenced life imprisonment for raping a minor girl in 2017, the gruesome Hathras incident snowballed into a political storm with members of the Congress, Aam Admi Party, Trinamool Congress and other opposition leaders of the state from Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal staging massive protests.

The Allahabad High Court took suo motu cognizance of the victim's late night cremation by the state police and had some terse remarks for senior officials, warning them against character assassination of the victim and urging restraint by the officials, political parties and the media.

It also pulled up Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar and Hathras District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar for suggesting on the basis of absence of semen mentioned in the forensic report that the woman was not raped.

The division bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy reminded the officials about the definition of rape, as legally the presence of semen is not necessarily required to establish that the said offence has taken place.

The CBI took over investigation on October 11 and formed a special team under the Ghaziabad unit to probe the case. PTI ABS SKL RDM RDM