Process begins to sack suspended police officers

  • Nirmala rape and murder case
- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Oct 22, 2018-

The government has started the process to dismiss the then Kanchanpur Police chief SP Dilli Raj Bista for his negligence while investigating the July rape and murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Pant.

The Home Ministry on Sunday gave suspended Superintendent of Police Bista and Inspector Jagdish Bhatta 24 hours to defend charges against them after the Nepal Police headquarters recommended their dismissal.

Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai confirmed that both the officers were asked to clarify why they should not be sacked for mishandling the case. The suspended officials will furnish clarifications twice, as per the procedure.

Police Spokesperson Shailesh Thapa Chhetri said Inspector General Sarbendra Khanal on October 15 sent a letter to the ministry recommending dismissal of SP Bista and Inspector Bhatta.

“If their clarification is not convincing, both of them could be removed from the service,” sources at the ministry told the Post.

Relatives of the victim and local residents have demanded action against SP Bista for tampering with evidence right from the scene where Nirmala’s body was found on July 27. He was suspended on August 25 and summoned to the police headquarters for interrogation over his controversial role.

According to the police force, the decision to sack Bista was based on the report submitted by the committee led by Joint-secretary Hari Prasad Mainali, field visit by IG Sarbendra Khanal and briefing by Additional Inspector General Dhiru Basnyat.

Nirmala was found strangulated to death after rape in Nimbukheda of Bhimdutta Municipality. On August 19, police detained 41-year-old Dilip Singh Bista, a mentally ill resident of Bhimdutta Municipality-19, and paraded him as the main culprit the next day. The move backfired on Kanchanpur Police.

A wave of violent protests followed his arrest as the victim’s family and residents accused the police of framing an innocent person to protect the real culprits of the heinous crime. The Mainali committee also corroborated the charges in its preliminary report.

The committee concluded that Kanchanpur Police had made several lapses while investigating the rape and murder case. In its findings, the report said that the police unit had remained indifferent to the complaint of the victim’s mother that the teenager had gone missing that fateful evening, and had not searched for her even after her bicycle was spotted. It also charged police with “grave” while collecting evidence against the murderer.

A teenager, 17-year-old Sunny Khuna of Bhagatpur, Mahendranagar, was shot dead and 24 people were injured when police opened fire to quell protests that demanded justice for the victim and punishment for the perpetrators.

Bista was released after forensic tests showed no evidence of his involvement in the crime.

Meanwhile, the AIG-led probe panel, which is interrogating the accused police officers, is said to be submitting its complete report soon. The team visited Kanchanpur where they met Nirmala’s family, activists, civil society leaders and journalists as part of their inquiry into the incident.

Twenty-six officials including suspended SP Bista have been recalled to the Police Headquarters, Naxal, on the charge of mishandling the case.

Published: 22-10-2018 07:20

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