Kathmandu, October 21
Nepal Police Headquarters has taken the first steps to sack suspended Superintendent of Police Dilliraj Bista and Inspector Jagadish Bhatta from police service.
The NP headquarters today recommended that the Ministry of Home Affairs dismiss suspended SP Dilliraj Bista and Inspector Jagdish Bhatta by rendering them disqualified to hold any government position in future.
Deputy Inspector General Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, Nepal Police spokesperson, told The Himalayan Times that Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal had written to the line ministry on October 15, recommending that SP Bista and Inspector Bhatta be dismissed as per Police Regulation for negligence while handling criminal investigation and failure to bring to book culprit(s) of the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta in Kanchanpur.
“The recommendation is based on the report of the high-level investigation committee led by Joint Secretary Hari Prasad Mainali, on-site inspection, the inquiry conducted by IGP Khanal and prima facie evidences,” DIG Kshetri said.
Bista and Bhatta were responsible for destroying evidences of the rape and murder which eventually caused the criminal investigation to make no headway whatsoever in the months that followed the discovery of Nirmala’s body.
Bista was Kanchanpur district police chief and Bhatta headed the Mahendranar police unit when Nirmala was raped and murdered on July 10.
They are among the eight cops suspended in connection with the case.
“We are waiting for the report of the high-level internal probe panel headed by Additional Inspector General Dhiru Basnyat to initiate departmental action against six other police officers,” DIG Kshetri said.
Meanwhile, the MoHA has initiated the process of acting on the recommendation for action against Bista and Bhatta.
Under-secretary Ekdev Adhikari, information officer at MoHA, said the ministry had started taking action on Nepal Police Headquarters’ recommendation of maximum punishment for them.
“The MoHA is preparing to seek 24-hour clarification in writing from Bista and Bhatta as to why they should not be dismissed from police service. If their clarifications are not satisfactory, they will face dismissal,” a MoHA source quoted Home Secretary Prem Kumar Rai.
According to the Mainali report, Bista and his team framed Dilip Singh Bista and tortured him into confessing through waterboarding. However, his DNA sample did not match Nirmala’s vaginal swab. The report also found faults with collection of the vaginal swab of the deceased as well as the lab tests.
SP Bista did not search for Nirmala even after a missing complaint was filed. Besides, he was negligent with regard to collecting and documenting evidences after her body was found on July 11. SP Bista also failed to mobilise security personnel to protect the crime scene and criminal evidences, the report said.
A version of this article appears in print on October 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.