3 arrested from Kanchanpur released, youth nabbed in Kathmandu still in custody


Police released three youths arrested in Kanchanpur in connection to rape and murder of Nirmala Panta on Wednesday even as another youth arrested from Kathmandu has been kept in custody.
Chief of Kanchanpur Police SP Kuver Kathayat told Setopati that the trio was summoned for questioning in the afternoon and released in the evening.
Police are taking statements and conducting technical examinations of the youth arrested in Kathmandu on the same day instead. Statements are also being taken from the persons named by the youth, according to a top police source.
“There are plenty of hints but we will not reveal the details until the investigations are complete as Nepal Police has already made a mistake in the past,” the police source added.
The Central Bureau of Investigation of Nepal Police arrested the youth on the basis of suspicious activities.
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 Dilli Raj 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 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 Yagya 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 Bista was then suspended (he has now been dismissed) for mishandling the case while the CIB sent another team under SSP Thakur Gyawali for investigations.
Samples were then 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. But the DNA of the three did not match with the samples collected from Nirmala’s vaginal swab. Police personnel involved in preliminary investigation have also undergone lie-detector tests.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has since revealed that the clothes worn by Nirmala Panta were burnt and thumbprint of her father was forged in the field report prepared by the police.

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