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‘Dead’ girl key to three lives

The 17-year-old intermediate arts student who showed up at RIMS on Saturday, four months after three youths were jailed for her rape and murder, will be produced before a Ranchi court on Tuesday.

The move is expected to ensure release of the trio from Birsa Munda central prison in Hotwar as well as seek an order on the course of investigation to rightly identify the charred body that was found 40km off capital on February 14 and resulted in a bizarre chain of mistaken identities.

So much so that parents of the 17-year-old student, who was missing then, accepted the body as hers after post-mortem and even performed the last rites. Five days later, her boyfriend Ajit and his friend Amarjit were arrested for date rape and murder. In May, one Abhimanyu was nabbed.

“Deposing before court tomorrow, she will have to explain how she went missing or why she left home and why she did not appear when three youths, including her erstwhile boyfriend, were sent to jail for her rape and murder,” rural SP S.K. Jha said on Monday.

Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar said the course of investigation depended solely on her statement. “The primary focus of police after the dramatic development in this case is to identify the real victim and the real culprit/s,” he added.

Insiders in the force pointed out that some policemen might face the heat for botching up probe and making “three innocent persons” suffer. “The girl’s statement is likely to expose erring officers against whom the court may recommend action,” one of them said.

The girl is, currently, in the safe custody of Mahila Thana. She will be shifted to a remand home in Namkum after being produced in court.

“The teenager is not willing to return to her parents who too fear social stigma and don’t want her back. In this situation, police will have no option other than keeping her at a remand home until she turns 18,” a policewoman said.