Kathmandu, October 10
The National Human Rights Commission today held a discussion with experts of criminal investigation with the objective of collecting their opinion and suggestions on the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta.
The discussion dwelt on the preliminary investigation conducted by Nepal Police, probe opened by government teams and the procedures adopted. A press release issued by the NHRC said the participants also discussed and analysed the protection of crime scene, process of collection and documentation of evidences, procedures and techniques of forensic test, and the facts established by the investigations conducted so far.
The experts also provided suggestions to the NHRC about the action to be taken by the rights body in the days ahead.
Acting Chairperson of NHRC Prakash Osti, NHRC member Sudip Pathak; former additional inspector generals Rajendra Bahadur Singh and Bigyan Raj Sharma; former deputy inspectors general Ramesh Kharel and Bam Bahadur Bhandari; former deputy attorneys general Narendra Prasad Pathak, Surya Prasad Koirala and Thok Prasad Siwakoti; and NHRC employees.
On October 7, the NHRC had issued an eight–point directive to the government, telling it to re-analyse and re-examine the capacity of the labs where DNA of the suspects in Nirmala’s rape and murder was tested, and where the victim’s vaginal swab was stored and the suspects’ semen was tested.
The directive was issued on the basis of preliminary findings of the NHRC’s probe report. Thirteen-year-old Nirmala was raped and murdered on July 25 in Bhimdutta Municipality of Kanchanpur district and the police remain clueless about culprit(s). The rights body stated that the government should re-examine whether the laboratories where DNA tests were conducted had adequate equipment, chemicals and resources to store vaginal swab and test semen.
The rights body also raised questions on the role of Bam sisters and suspended Superintendent of Police Dilli Raj Bista, who was the chief of Kanchanpur police at the time of the incident, and urged the government to probe allegations against them.
It was found that local police did not safeguard evidence at the incident site and the evidence was destroyed. Sniffer dogs were not mobilised to find culprit(s) and the chief of the district police office was not present at the crime site to coordinate investigation, the NHRC stated.
A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.