Probe committee member resigns

  • Kanchanpur Rape, Murder Incident
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR

Sep 11, 2018-

A member of the government panel formed to probe the rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta has resigned, citing security threat to himself and his family.

Birendra KC, who was in the five-member team formed by the Home Ministry to investigate the teenager’s death in Kanchanpur district, announced on Monday that he was no longer part of the enquiry, for he felt threatened from those actively trying to undermine the probe. KC told the press in Kathmandu that he and his family members could be murdered anytime if he continued to be a part of the team. He also appealed to National Human Rights Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure safety for himself and his family.

KC, who is also the under secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law in Province 7, has suggested that a powerful group could be involved in the case and that Nirmala’s family may not get justice.  

Nirmala was found raped and murdered in a sugarcane field in Bhimdutta Munciapality-18, Kanchanpur, on July 27, a day after she was reported missing.

Kanchanpur police and the District Administration Office have been accused of obfuscating the investigation process from day one. Nirmala’s parents were coerced by the authorities to cremate their daughter and stop the protest sweeping across Kanchanpur and beyond.

On August 23, the Ministry of Home Affairs constituted the probe panel to hold an inquest into Nirmala’s death, as well as scrutinise police investigation.

The panel told the press in Kanchanpur on Saturday that police had botched the investigation.

An independent inquiry launched by the National Human Rights Commission has also concluded that Kanchanpur police mishandled the investigation and possibly destroyed evidence from the crime scene.

No justice for Nirmala

Though the Ministry of Home Affairs extended the deadline for submission of enquiry report by 15 days on Sunday, KC doubts that buying more time will help the case. “If anything, the deadline extension has helped the perpetrators to escape justice,” he said.

The panel was due to submit its report to the ministry on Monday.

According to KC, long and drawn out investigation process has also raised legal issues, like the issue of increasing the remand duration of Roshani and Babita, who are in police detention for their alleged role behind Nirmala’s death.

KC has also expressed discontent over the panel in which, he says, his suggestions and opinions are rarely valued.

“I have time and again voiced my concerns regarding the ramifications this case could encounter if the panel failed to submit the enquiry report on time. But my advice was not heeded,” he said. Hari Prasad Mainali, the panel’s coordinator, claimed that there were disagreements whatsoever among the panel members.

Superintendent of Police Kuber Kadayat said the investigation will continue despite KC’s resignation.

What little hope Nirmala’s parents had of their daughter getting justice has been dashed with KC walking out of the enquiry.

“How can we get justice when the member of the investigation panel resigns saying there is no possibility of justice,” Nirmala’s father Yangya Raj said.

“The deadline extension is an attempt to dismiss the case. I doubt if they will ever get the culprits.”

Published: 11-09-2018 07:32

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