Dharmapuri teen’s family alleges crucial evidence of rape collected late, cops deny

A video shot by activist Grace Banu on November 13 shows soiled underwear and broken bangles, allegedly belonging to the victim, still present at the scene of crime.
Dharmapuri teen’s family alleges crucial evidence of rape collected late, cops deny
Dharmapuri teen’s family alleges crucial evidence of rape collected late, cops deny

It has been four days since the death of Nithya*, an Adivasi girl living in Dharmapuri district. But one visit to the spot where she was allegedly raped and the glint of broken bangles lying in the thick foliage catches one’s eye. Somewhere nearby, a pair of soiled underwear is spotted. These are the allegedly the remnants of the alleged gangrape of the 17-year-old, who succumbed to her injuries on Saturday morning. Her family has alleged that despite a police complaint in the case, crucial pieces of evidence were not picked by the investigating officials till Wednesday.

Since the alleged crime, Nithya's parents have accused the local police of attempting to downplay the case. They allege that the police first refused to include charges of rape in the FIR, and then also demanded money from the family to come to their village and investigate the case. Despite the family obliging to this demand for money, the family has alleged that police failed to carry out investigations to their satisfaction. A video shot by activists who visited the village on November 13 shows the pieces of clothing and accessories that the girl wore, allegedly still at the scene of the crime.

"The underwear and bangles belonged to my daughter," says Kalai*, Nithya's father. "On Wednesday, doctors who conducted the post-mortem came and picked it up along with the police. They were lying at the spot where she was raped for all these days. We have been constantly facing hardships with the police, as far as this case is concerned and this is just another part of it," he adds.

However, when TNM contacted the local police, they alleged that the evidence had been planted recently.

"The inspector before me has also been to the site and so many other police officials have also been there. How could they have missed out on this?" asks Inspector Lakshmi, an investigating officer in the case. The investigating officer before her, however, was removed following protests and allegations of corruption by the family. "This (the underwear and bangles) has been planted only yesterday," she claims.

However, activist Grace Banu, who shot the video, says that the footage was from her visit to the area on Tuesday.

"The manner in which the investigation of this case is being conducted is pathetic," says advocate V Kannadhasan, who handled the Hasini rape case. "This is medical evidence that should have been collected immediately. The investigation has to be done in a scientific manner for the case to stand in court. It is the duty of the police to visit the scene of the crime after a complaint is received and collect whatever evidence is present."

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