Where is Nirmala rape and murder investigation headed?

Kathmandu, September 30

Over two months have passed since the rape and killing of Nirmala Panta in Kanchanpur district, but Nepal Police remains clueless about culprits even after questioning several suspects and conducting DNA test of four persons, including suspended Superintendent of Police Dilliraj Bista.

Criminal investigation being conducted by police yielded no results for the second time after DNA samples of suspended SP, his son Kiran Bista and Aayush Bista (nephew of mayor of Bhimdatta Municipality) did not match the vaginal swab of the 13-year-old girl. Earlier, DNA samples of Dilip Raj Bista had also tested negative.

“DNA test is not the only tool of criminal investigation and will not put an end to the ongoing probe. Police have been conducting probe from several angles and the DNA test result does not mean a clean chit to the three accused. We have developed many leads in connection to the crime,” Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, Nepal Police spokesperson, told THT.

However, police are clueless about who perpetrated the crime that has stirred mass outpouring of grief and anger across the nation. The lack of evidence-based investigation offers little hope of justice to the victim and her grieving family.

Criminal investigation has become more complex and demanding due to the failure to timely identify and bring to book culprits. The report submitted by Joint Secretary Hari Prasad Mainali-led probe panel to the Ministry of Home Affairs had stated that the then Kanchanpur police chief SP Bista and his team destroyed evidences of the rape and murder. The girl’s salwar was washed and other clothes burnt instead of protecting them for forensic tests.

Six cops were suspended for botching up the investigation.