Bhagarathi's family have agreed to receive her body for final rites today


Family of Bhagarati Bhatta in Baitadi have agreed to receive the teenager's body after prime suspect in the case admitted to raping her prior to strangulating her to death.

According to Bhagarathi's brother Keshav Bhatta, the family will receive and carry out the final rites of her body that has been kept at District Hospital, Baitadi for two weeks. Her body had been kept at the Hospital's mortuary since February 5 after her kin took a stand to not receive her mortal remains till the perpetrator was found.

He added that though the suspect is a close person to the family and a neighbour, he being taken into police custody for legal action has made them feel that the process of justice has been initiated. The family had been denying to receive Bhagarathi's body initially as the detainee, also a teenager, had not provided trustworthy evidence that would confirm his involvement in the atrocious crime.

The suspect – who was arrested on February 16 and paraded by police on February 17 – on Thursday revealed the location where Bhagarathi's watch lies.

The detainee, around 17 years of age, assisted the police in finding the watch located around the incident site. Spokesperson of Sudur Pashchim Province Police Office, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mukesh Kumar Singh confirmed that the watch was located accordingly. He revealed that he had thrown her watch away into a stream to the west from the place where the victim's shoes were located.

The victim, a grade 12 student at the local Sanatan Dharma School from Dogadakedar Rural Municipality-7 in Baitadi, went missing on February 3 and was found lifeless in the community forest on February 4. After two weeks of this incident, police made a breakthrough and made the accused public on February 17.

As per the police, the suspect who had earlier admitted to his crimes, despite committing to the murder had denied the allegations of raping the victim.

However, on Thursday, in the course of taking the suspect's statement at the district government attorney's office in the presence of both the victim's and suspect's families, he admitted to first raping the girl before killing her. He stated that he pushed the girl on the road and when she fell unconscious, he raped her before choking her to death.

According to investigating officers, the accused also said in his statement that he committed the crime as an act of revenge upon Bhagarathi's family. According to him, a member of Bhagarathi's family had inflicted a criminal act upon his own relative many years ago.