Many questioned in Bhandara rape case, say police

Mumbai, Feb 21: A week after three minor sisters were raped and murdered in Bhandara near Nagpur, a top Maharashtra police official Thursday said many people have been questioned in the case in the last two days.

Admitting that the police have not found any substantial lead in the case, Additional Director General of Police Ahmed Javed, however, said that no detail is being overlooked. He reiterated that action has been taken against concerned officials who delayed the case.

A police official has been suspended for dereliction of duty after the shocking incident of three minor sisters, who were missing, and later found raped and murdered and their bodies dumped in a well, came to light earlier this week.

“The probe is underway and as of now, all avenues are open. Each and everyone who can be a suspect is under our scanner,” Javed told reporters here.

Javed also admitted to lapses in the initial investigation and said that the leads could not provide any headway in the case. However, police have got new leads in the last two days, he added.

“Many people have been questioned in the case so far,” he said, refusing to give a specific number.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident and issued notice to the Maharashtra chief secretary, calling for a report within four weeks.

The three girls aged five, nine and 11 went missing last Thursday. Their mother lodged a complaint with the local police station after they did not return from school.

Two days later, some villagers discovered their brutalised bodies in a well near Murmadi village, following which the police registered a case of “accidental death”.

It was only after the villagers took to the streets, blocked traffic and protested outside the police station that police finally lodged a case of murder, kidnapping, rape and other serious charges.

In Mumbai, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan early Wednesday announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.10 lakh to the family of the three girls.

IANS