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NCW report slams post-mortem findings

A three-member fact finding committee appointed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) raised serious concerns about the autopsy and the subsequent probe by the police in the Bhandara triple murder case.┬áThe four-page report under the leadership of member Nirmala Prabhavalkar and advocates Vijaya Bangade from Chandrapur and Smita Singalkar Sarode from Nagpur was submitted to NCW’s chairman Mamta Sharma yesterday.

Bhandara General Hospital
The Bhandara General Hospital where the post-mortems were conducted

In the report, the manner in which the post-mortem was conducted at the Bhandara General Hospital has raised many suspicions. “Firstly, the panel of doctors who conducted the autopsy did not have any forensic expert as part of the team. Secondly, even though the Supreme Court of India does not approve the finger test, it was carried out to check for any hymen tear. Additionally, such testing is never used on dead bodies. Moreover, the panel of doctors could not even ascertain the exact cause of death,” said Prabhavalkar mentioning the report.

She added that the committee had suggested that the police should form a panel of forensic experts - from state and the centre - having vast experience of handling sensitive cases should form a panel to ascertain the cause and time of death and also provide their views on the death of the girls. Prabhavalkar further raising doubts on the autopsy said that the findings of the post-mortem did not match those of the Nagpur Forensic Science Laboratories.

“The post-mortem said that the girls had been killed somewhere and then thrown in the well later but this fact does not corroborate with the findings from Nagpur FSL.” Moreover, the Diatom positive test only proves the claims made by the doctor were wrong. The report also went on to suggest that the police should seek a second opinion within two days of receiving the NCW report and if needed, the bodies of the victims should be exhumed so that another post-mortem can be carried out.

Speaking to MiD DAY from New Delhi, Prabhavalkar said that copies of the same would be sent to Special Inspector General (Nagpur Range) Rajendra Singh for necessary action. “Our eight hours of examinations and inquiries in the village of Lakhani on February 28 and the series of exposés carried out by MiD DAY as well as other news reports helped us prepare our report,” said Prabhavalkar.

When asked if the committee would also recommend a probe into the post-mortems that was conducted at Bhandara General Hospital, she said, “Our first priority is to get the medico-legal case solved. The Bhandara case has caused a huge uproar in the country, even in Parliament. Once the case is cracked, we shall look into other issues.” Meanwhile, the Bhandara police have not made any official arrests in the case. State Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal said, “We are already looking into every aspect of the case including the forensic angle.”

Probe ongoing: Shinde
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde yesterday said the probe into the rape and murder of the three sisters was on and the local police officer was suspended for not acting promptly and professionally. “SP (Superintendent of Police) Bhandara, Dr Arati Singh and senior officers visited the area and the investigation is ongoing. The state government has reported that the in-charge of the police station was suspended on Feb 19 as he did not deal with the complainant promptly and professionally.

Teams from Maharashtra police have been formed to pursue different lines of investigation and to track the offenders,” said Shinde’s statement tabled in the Lok Sabha. Shinde said he was “deeply shocked at the despicable, ghastly and brutal manner in which three minor girls from the same family were brutally raped and murdered and then thrown into an abandoned well near Murwadi village” in the district.

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