Days after a 15-year-old girl was suspected to have died by suicide at Ranaghat in Bengal’s Nadia district, the police on Saturday arrested her aunt, brother-in-law and the latter’s uncle on the basis of charges of rape and murder brought by the minor’s family, police said. Charges have also been brought under the POCSO Act.
On April 14, the girl was found hanging at her aunt’s residence where she had gone to spend a few days during the popular Charak festival.
Since the girl’s aunt had allegedly rebuked her for some reason shortly before the body was found inside a room that was locked from outside, the police registered a case of suicide and brought charges of abetting suicide against her aunt and her family. A post mortem was done at Ranaghat sub-divisional hospital on Friday.
“The girl’s father brought allegations of rape and murder on Friday and fresh charges were filed by the police. A second post mortem was done on Saturday,” said Sayak Das, superintendent, Ranaghat police district.
The second autopsy was approved by the Ranaghat court.
The police arrested the girl’s aunt, her cousin’s husband and the latter’s uncle and produced them before the Ranaghat court on Saturday. They were remanded in police custody.
The girl’s father told the media that he felt suspicious on seeing the body.
“I could not see any apparent sign of hanging. Moreover, it was claimed that she had hung herself from a ceiling fan. The fan was placed way too high for someone of her height to reach,” he said.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Nadia district — where the saffron camp has significant presence since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls — hatched a conspiracy to malign the government.
The TMC made the allegation after the audio clip of a purported telephonic conversation between two men surfaced on social media on Saturday.
HT could not independently verify the veracity of the audio clip in which one man could be heard telling the other that the incident has to be made an issue for the TMC and pressure must be created on the police. “We have to make the family change the complaint,” the man could be heard saying.
President of the BJP’s Nadia south unit Partha Sarathi Chatterjee said, “Those who can be heard in the audio clip do not belong to our party.”
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said, “This is clearly a conspiracy by the BJP to malign the government. The clip must be analysed and probed.”
The incident comes amid the court-ordered Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged gang rape and death of a 14-year-old girl at Hanskhali in Nadia district.
The local police arrested Brajagopal Gayali, the son of local TMC panchayat member Samarendra Gayali, as the main accused. The alleged gang rape took place on the night of April 4. The victim, a class 9 student, died the next morning, allegedly due to excessive bleeding.
The Hanskhali rape has rocked the state since last week. Brajagopal was arrested on April 10 by the Nadia district police. His friend and alleged accomplice, Prabhakar Poddar, was arrested on April 12, hours before the Calcutta high court ordered the CBI probe.
A third suspect, Ranjit Mullick, was arrested by the CBI on Saturday. Mullick was produced before the Ranaghat court on Sunday and remanded in CBI custody.