MP: HC seeks ATR from state govt over Bhopal schoolgirl's death

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Jabalpur, Jun 24 (PTI) The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the state government to submit the action taken report (ATR) of the police's special investigation team (SIT) that probed the mysterious death of a schoolgirl in Bhopal in January 2019, during the next hearing in July.

During the hearing held on Tuesday on the petition filed by the parents of the eight-year-old girl, a single bench of Justice Vishal Dhagat issued a notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the petitioners' counsel Hemant Shrivastava said.

The parents of the girl have moved the HC for transfer of the case of their daughter's death, registered in the police station Awadhpuri in Bhopal, to the CBI, he said.

'The state shall apprise on the next date of hearing as to what action has been taken after the constitution of the SIT and change of its officers,' the court said.

The ground for seeking transfer of the case to the CBI was that the police did not make any breakthrough or ascertain the cause of death of the minor girl, Shrivastava said.

The girl was studying in Class 3 of a private school at Bhopal. On January 4, 2019, after the minor’s school bus dropped her at a bus stop, her mother made her sit on her two-wheeler. But as they were about to leave, the girl suddenly fell off and passed out, the counsel said.

The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, but due to the lack of facility there, she was rushed to another hospital, where she was declared brought dead, he added.

Information about the incident was passed on to the police. The girl's post-mortem report pointed out that cardio respiratory failure caused her death due to suspected poisoning, Shrivastava said.

In the meantime, her parents inspected the school bag and other belongings of the girl collected from the school premises after her death and came across with one unusual drawing done in school on the day of her death, the counsel said.

After a delay in taking action by the police, her parents' complained to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) along with her drawing, he added. The NCPCR sent the girl's drawings to the psychology department of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi for analysis and expert opinion to know if there was any foul play into the unnatural death of the girl, he said.

The psychology department of AIIMS has pointed that the drawings indicate towards the presence of sexual abuse in clinical sense, Shrivastava said.

In their plea, the parents stated that despite two years the state police are yet to trace the relevant hard disk of the CCTV footage in the school campus and the school bus.

In his submission, Shrivastava said that the Bhopal superintendent of police on September 5, 2019 submitted an affidavit before the NCPCR, in which he mentioned about many discrepancies and faults in the investigation.

After hearing the plea, the judge directed the state government- a respondent in the case- for the ATR and said the matter be listed in the third week of July. PTI COR LAL NP NP

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