The CBI registered an FIR early Sunday morning and took over investigation into the alleged gangrape and murder of a Dalit woman last month in Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh, officials said.
The central probe agency registered the FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to gangrape and murder among others, and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
It assigned the case to its Ghaziabad unit with a special team to investigate the ghastly crime, they said.
The 19-year old woman was allegedly raped by four men on September 14. She succumbed to severe assault injuries at a Delhi hospital a fortnight later which was followed by a hushed up cremation at night allegedly forced by the district administration.
The brutal injuries suffered by the woman and the administration's move to cremate her body late at night triggered massive outrage among people resulting in a pitched political battle from Delhi to Hathras, a city known for its satire and asafoetida.
The political slugfest was further perpetuated after the state police's statement that it had not found any evidence of rape.
Faced with public anger and the opposition's protests over the Dalit teenager's alleged rape and murder by upper caste men, the state government had finally decided to hand over the case to the CBI which was referred to the probe agency by a central government notification on Saturday.
The officer concerned of the Uttar Pradesh police had registered a case of attempt to murder on a statement by the victim's brother who, as per the FIR at Chandpa police station, had said the accused had tried to strangulate his sister in a millet field and escaped when she raised an alarm.
The notification issued by the centre on the request of the state government had asked the CBI to probe rape, murder and atrocity and "any attempt, abetment and/or conspiracy, in relation to or in connection with such offence(s) and/or for any other offence committed in the course of the same transaction or arising out of the same facts".
"The complainant had alleged that on September 14, 2020 the accused tried to strangulate his sister in the millet field. The case has been registered by CBI on the request of Uttar Pradesh Government and further Notification from Government of India," CBI Spokesperson RK Gaur said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sharpened his attack on the Yogi Adityanath dispensation over the alleged rape and murder of the Dalit woman.
In a tweet, he said, "The CM & his police say no one was raped because for them, and many other Indians, she was NO ONE".
The former Congress chief also said the "shameful truth" was that many Indians do not consider Dalits, Muslims and tribals to be human.
He also tagged a media report which asked why police was denying rape when the woman had repeatedly reported that she was raped.