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SC transfers Kotkhai custodial death case

The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred a case related to alleged custodial death of an accused in the gang rape and murder of a minor schoolgirl in Himachal Pradesh’s Kotkhai in 2017, from Shimla to Chandigarh.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi transferred the case to Chandigarh after the CBI and the accused said they have no objection if the case was transferred from Shimla.

“We order transfer of the case to a competent CBI court in Chandigarh,” the Bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said.

The counsel appearing for the CBI informed the Bench that chargesheet has been filed in the case against several police officers ranging from constable to former Inspector General of Police.

The apex court had last month granted bail to former Himachal Pradesh IGP Zahur Haider Zaidi, an accused in the case, and said that it would later deal with the aspect of transferring the trial from a court in Himachal Pradesh.

Sought responses

The top court had in November last year sought responses from Zaidi, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Theog) Manoj Joshi and six other Himachal Pradesh policemen as to why the trial against them be not transferred from Shimla.

The CBI had earlier told the court that though the chargesheet has been filed, the trial in the case “has not seen the light of the day” and hence the matter be transferred to other court for expeditious disposal.

Zaidi and seven others were arrested in the custodial death of Suraj, who was found dead at the Kotkhai police station on July 18, 2017.

A 16-year-old girl had gone missing in Kotkhai on July 4, 2017, and her body was found from the Halaila forests two days later. The post-mortem had confirmed rape and murder and a case was registered. Amid a huge public outcry, a SIT headed by Zaidi was constituted by the then Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government. The SIT arrested six persons, and after the custodial death of Suraj, the High Court had handed over the investigations of both the cases to the CBI. The CBI had arrested Zaidi, DCP Joshi and other policemen in connection with the custodial death.

Source: thehindu.com

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