Nirmala rape, murder case: Police deny torturing suspects during interrogation

Friday, December 28th, 2018 | | National

Dec 28, 2018-Nepal Police have outrightly denied that they tortured Pradip Rawal and Bishal Chaudhary while the two were kept in custody in relation to the high-profile case of Nirmala Pant, the 13-year-old who was raped and murdered on July 26.

After the two were released, Rawal accused the police of torturing him and forcing him to confess to the crime. Bishal Chaudhary, who had been similarly detained, also accused the police of torturing him to confess during interrogations.

“The accusations are wrong. We haven’t tortured either of them,” said Central Police Spokesperson SSP Uttam Raj Subedi.

Rawal and Chaudhary, who, according to the police, had confessed to the crime during interrogation, were released on December 26 and December 21 respectively. Chaudhary was released after his DNA didn’t match with the sample collected from the vaginal swab of 13-year-old Nirmala, whereas Rawal was released after the District Administration Office of Kathmandu issued an order to release him. Chaudhary has currently been brought to Kathmandu for treatment, citing he suffered mental and physical torture during the interrogation.

The DNA report of Rawal has still not arrived, while the report of Chaudhary arrived around a week ago. According to SSP Subedi, the DNA report of Rawal has not been sent back by the forensic laboratory yet, although both their samples were sent for test the same day.

According to a high-level police source, the investigators who were tailing Rawal and Chaudhary would have never performed the mistake of torturing them and committing criminal offense, a mistake that has previously been committed by the then Kanchanpur Police Chief SP Dilli Raj Bista.

The police have also said that although Rawal and Chaudhary have been released, they are still under investigation.

“The case is most likely a group rape and murder case, but we have recovered only one semen sample from the victim’s vaginal swab. Just because Chaudary’s DNA results have come negative doesn’t mean he is innocent. The investigation process is not complete yet; there are many steps still left,” said SSP Subedi.

After the release of Rawal, Surendra Raj Pandey, Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader of the National Assembly, had also addressed the National Assembly by accusing Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel for giving wrong comments over the arrest of the perpetrators.

“Minister Pokhrel had publicly announced that arrests of the real culprits had been made and police would make the announcements soon. But where are the culprits? Should such a minister, who lies openly, remain in such an important post?” said Pandey during the National Assembly on Wednesday. DPM Pokharel made the claim at the 10th Human Rights National Assembly in the Capital on Saturday.

Pokharel also shared that the issue might be politicised once the culprit (s) are made public, but political parties and activists, under any political guise, should not defend the culprits.

With the release of their only two major suspects, Nepal Police is again back to zero in solving the rape and murder case of Nirmala Pant. However, the police believe it is on the right path to finding the culprits behind such a heinous crime.

“We are still positive. The case has narrowed down and the culprit will be arrested. Some cases take time,” said SSP Subedi.