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From jail to lock-up

Suri, Jan. 24: The 13 persons arrested in connection with the alleged gangrape of a Birbhum girl at the behest of a kangaroo court were sent to police remand today after police “rectified their mistake” and moved court seeking their custody.

The 13 had been remanded in judicial custody yesterday. The Birbhum superintendent of police, C. Sudhakar, has been removed from the post and put on compulsory waiting for allegedly failing to monitor the case properly.

Alok Rajoria, the additional SP of South 24-Parganas, has replaced Sudhakar. He visited Subalpur village, where the girl was allegedly gang-raped, along with other senior officers.

The Bolpur additional chief judicial magistrate’s court today remanded the accused in 13 days’ police custody after the police said not seeking the remand of the 13 yesterday had been “a procedural mistake”.

In the petition today, the police said they wanted to take the accused into custody as they were yet to find the clothes the 13 had worn during the alleged rape and the rope with which the girl had been tied to a tree before the atrocity.

Public prosecutor Firoz Kumar Pal said the investigating officer was busy arranging for the victim’s medical tests yesterday. “So he could not focus on yesterday’s court proceedings. Kindly consider it as a procedural mistake,” he told the magistrate.

“Not praying for their custody was a major fault. Today, we petitioned for police custody to rectify the mistake,” a district police officer said.

After securing their remand, the police whisked away the 13 in two vehicles to the scene of the alleged crime in Subalpur.

Around 4.30pm, three of the accused were taken to the hut of morol (village head) Balai Maddi. The girl was allegedly gang-raped in the hut on Balai’s orders. The police told the trio to show them the tree to which the girl was tied before the atrocity.