DNA test fails to pin down suspects

Dhangadi, September 30

DNA report of suspended Superintendent of Police Dilliraj Bista, his son Kiran Bista and Bhimdatta Municipality Mayor Surendra Bista’s nephew Aayush Bista, suspected in the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta, 13, of Bhimdatta Municipality has tested negative.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Krishnaraj Ojha at Kanchanpur District Police Office said the DNA report of the three suspects did not match the DNA profile found in Nirmala’s vaginal swab.

Locals and victim’s family had called for the three suspects’ DNA test.

Earlier, the DNA report of Dilip Singh Bista, who was presented as the main accused in the incident too had not matched the DNA profile found in Nirmala’s vaginal swab.

Kanchanpur District Police Office SP Kuber Bahadur Kathayat said investigation into the case would not be halted just because the DNA report was negative. “We are investigating the incident from different angles,” said Kathayat.

According to SP Kathayat, the suspects’ DNA were tested though no FIR was filed against the three. “The victim’s kin and locals say that suspended SP Bista showed negligence in the investigation, but no FIR was filed against him,” said SP Kathayat.

Meanwhile, Nirmala’s father Ekraj Panta has expressed doubt over the vaginal swab. “Efforts were made to cover up from the beginning and the DNA report is a consequence of the same efforts,” Panta said. He added that criminals were able to destroy all the evidences necessary in the investigation. “But the government has to find who raped and killed my daughter,” he added.

Civil Struggle Committee Coordinator Mina Bhandari alleged that the fact that the DNA report of the suspects did not match DNA profile found in Nirmala’s vaginal swab was the result of efforts to shield the guilty.

Women rights activists continued their relay hunger strike today as well, demanding that report submitted to the government by the high-level probe committee be made public. The struggle committee led by Mina Bhandari is giving continuity to its relay hunger strike at Chautari of Mahendranagar in  Bhimdatta Municipality.

Nirmala Panta was raped and subsequently murdered on July 26. She had gone to do homework at a friend’s place, but was found dead in a sugarcane field the next day.