An NGO has moved the Supreme Court seeking to transfer the investigation in the Hathras incident, in which a Dalit girl was allegedly raped and died of injuries, to the CBI. The NGO, which has sought to intervene and assist the apex court in the pending plea on Hathras incident, said it has the experience of working with victims who were "threatened and intimidated by the mighty state" in the past.
The applicant, Citizens for Justice and Peace, has raised certain aspects in its application like witness protection, rights of deceased, admissibility of narco-analysis test, statements by public authorities, dying declaration and relevance of forensic reports and other medical evidence in rape cases.
"The applicant is intervening primarily since there are widespread news reports attributed to senior police officials and elected representatives who are trying to underplay the heinous offence and actually prejudging the issue," it said.
The Uttar Pradesh government, which filed an affidavit in the case this week, also urged the top court to order CBI probe into the incident saying an innocent life has been lost and the central agency may be ordered to conduct the probe under the supervision of the apex court itself.
The 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by four upper-caste men in Hathras on September 14. She died on September 29 at Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital during treatment. The victim was cremated in the dead of the night near her home on September 30. Her family alleged they were forced by the local police to hurriedly conduct her last rites.
Local police officers, however, said the cremation was carried out "as per the wishes of the family". The NGO, in its plea, has alleged that there are reports of a senior police officer saying that there was no sexual assault in the case.
"It is rather alarming that an officer at that level is making these public statements when investigation is still in progress and the final outcome would be post the trial," it said, adding, "The applicant is intervening in these circumstances having had experience working with victims who were threatened and intimidated by the mighty state in the past."
It alleged that uncertainty around the protection of the victim's family is "growing day-by-day especially as it appears from media reports that the socially powerful families allegedly associated with the accused, are intimidating the family". It said that larger question of protection of witness has become of "paramount importance" in the matter.
The plea claimed that on October 2, a spokesperson of the Uttar Pradesh government said that a polygraph and narco-analysis test of the victim's family would be conducted. It alleged the official also said that tests would be conducted both from the side of accused and victim, apart from police officials and others involved in the case.
It said "subjecting the family members to such tests when they are neither accused nor booked under any charges in the manner is a great defiance of law". The plea has said that the probe should be transferred to the CBI "with specific directions that the team would file progress report" before the apex court.
It has also sought direction to provide protection to all the witnesses from the central paramilitary forces and also to appoint a retired judge of the top court to investigate the circumstances which led to the cremation of victim in the middle of the night in open field.
While hearing a plea on Hathras incident, the apex court had on October 6 termed as "shocking" and "horrible" the incident and said it would ensure a "smooth" investigation. It had sought Uttar Pradesh government's reply by October 8 on how the witnesses were being protected in the case.
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