Kathmandu, October 11
The National Human Rights Commission has directed Nepal Police headquarters to keep safe and intact the sample of Nirmala Panta’s vaginal swab collected by Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory and the DNA isolated from that sample, along with other evidences.
The directive was issued following an NHRC discussion with forensic and DNA experts regarding the rape and murder of Nirmala today, stated a press release
issued by the rights body. The NHRC has also written to Mahakali Zonal Hospital, Kanchanpur, directing it to provide the rights body with information about the procedures adopted while collecting Nirmala’s vaginal swab and sending it to Central Police Forensic Science Laboratory.
The rights body stated that NHRC officials and forensic and DNA experts had studied copies of reports of DNA test and post-mortem. NHRC Acting Chairperson Prakash Osti, NHRC member Sudip Pathak, forensic expert of Forensic Medicine Department at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital Dr Harihar Osti and DNA expert of National Forensic Science Laboratory Dr Dinesh Jha were among those present during the discussion.
On October 7, the NHRC 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 case was tested, 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 NHRC’s probe report.
Thirteen-year-old Nirmala was raped and murdered on July 26 in Bhimdutta Municipality of Kanchanpur 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 DNA samples of Dilip Singh Bista, who was presented by Nepal Police as prime suspect, suspended Superintendent of Police Dilliraj Bista, his son Kiran Raj Bista and Bhimdutta Municipality mayor’s nephew Aayush Bista did not match the vaginal swab of Nirmala.
Meanwhile, a high-level probe panel led by Additional Inspector General Dhiru Basnyat has yet to submit its report to Nepal Police, as it was assigned no deadline. Nepal Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police Shailesh Thapa Kshetri said the security agency would initiate action against cops, including SP Bista, as recommended by the panel for destroying criminal evidences once the report was submitted.
A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.