A court in Hathras has found only one of the four accused in the Hathras brutalisation and death of a Dalit girl guilty and exonerated the others, who have been in jail since September 2020, ruling out rape and murder.
The SC/ST court handed life imprisonment to Sandeep Singh Thakur for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and violating the SC/ ST (Atrocities) Act. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him. However, Ravi Singh, Ramu Singh and Luvkush Singh were exonerated.
Mahipal Singh Nimhotra, a counsel for the girl’s family, said: “The court was not convinced that the victim was gang-raped and killed intentionally. We are going to appeal in the high court for a fresh hearing of the case.”
The CBI had submitted its first chargesheet in December 2020 mentioning that the teen had been gang-raped and murdered by the four upper caste men. The family of the girl had accused Uttar Pradesh police of forcibly cremating the body in an agricultural field against the wishes of her parents.
Seema Kushwaha, another counsel for the girl’s family, said: “We are not satisfied with the order of the SC/ST court as there is enough evidence to prove that all the four accused were involved in the crime. We will move the high court.”
“The government had announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a job for a member of the family, but the promises were not fulfilled. The family is still living in fear and has to be given security by the Central Reserve Police Force,” Kushwaha added.
The elder brother of the girl said: “It was not possible for one person to brutalise and kill her. At least four persons were physically involved in the crime. She was gangraped, her neck broken and there were severe injuries on her body that led to her death. We will move a higher court and ensure that all the accused are taken to the noose.”
Munna Singh Pundir, counsel for the accused, said Sandeep, too, was innocent. “We will appeal in the high court,” Pundir said.
The crime was committed on September 14, 2020. The girl had been shifted from Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital, Aligarh, to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, on September 28 and she died the next day.
The case was handed over to the CBI in October the same year. CBI sources had said at that time that Sandeep had given false information during questioning. Asked whether he was there in the field at the time of the crime, he had replied “no”. His answer was in the negative when asked whether he had touched the girl. However, the analysis of the polygraph test suggested that Sandeep was lying.
The CBI had told the court that the girl and the main accused were friends and used to talk on phone, but Sandeep had criminal intentions and he finally executed his plan to brutalise the girl. The agency had taken the four accused to Gandhinagar in Gujarat in December 2020 for the polygraph and brain electrical oscillation signature tests.