DIG Dhiru Basnet to lead investigation of rape and murder of Nirmala Panta


DIG Dhiru Basnet will lead the investigation of the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Bhimdutta municipality of Kanchanpur.
The Nepal Police headquarters earlier had formed a five-member team led by SSP Uttam Subedi on August 30 to investigate the case.
Nepal Police Spokesperson SSP Shailesh Kumar Chhetri told Setopati that DIG Basnet has been handed the reins of investigations after additional police officers involved in preliminary investigations were suspended and the man paraded as the main accused was released following DNA reports. The probe committee is now nine strong with addition of four officers including DIG Basnet.
“The existing committee has been upgraded to investigate the case with added gravity and depth,” SSP Chhetri said. “This committee will investigate the role of all police officers involved in handling of the case.”
The Home Ministry on Saturday suspended five including three of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) team that had went to Kanchanpur on July 30 to assist the local police in investigation.
The government on August 23 had formed a five-member probe committee under Director General of the Department of Prison Management Hari Mainali. The committee submitted the preliminary report to Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa on Saturday.
The ministry suspended DSP of CIB Angur GC, DSP Gyan Bahadur Setty, inspectors Jagadish Bhatta and Ekendra Khadka, and Sub-inspector Ram Singh Dhami on the basis of that preliminary report. The then SP of Kanchanpur Dilli Raj Bista has already been suspended for mishandling the case.
Samples have already been collected for DNA test of the suspended SP Bista, his son Kiran and Aayush Bista, nephew of Mayor of Bhimdutta municipality Surendra Bista to investigate the case.
The body of 13-year-old Panta of Bhimdutta municipality 2, who had gone to a friend’s home for study on July 26, was found at a sugarcane field the next day.
A CIB team led by DSP Angur GC had reached Kanchanpur four days after the incident. Doubts arose about the police investigation after the CIB team and the then SP at Kanchanpur Bista made 41-year-old Dilip Singh Bista, who was mentally challenged, public as the culprit on the 24th day of the incident on August 18.
The District Government Attorney Office released Bista on Tuesday after DNA samples collected from Nirmala Panta’s body did not match with that of Bista.
The locals have been claiming that Bista was framed by the police to save the real culprits. Nirmala’s father Ek Raj has claimed that the police put pressure on him to file a complaint identifying Bista as the main accused.
One boy was killed in police firing and dozens injured in clashes with police as the locals protested for days accusing the police of trying to save the real culprits.
The then SP of Kanchanpur Dilli Raj Bista was then suspended for mishandling the case while the CIB sent another team under SSP Thakur Gyawali for investigations.

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