Month after Bhopal sexual assault, SIT to investigate lapses

The assault took place on January 16, when the woman, who was walking near JK Hospital in Kolar area of Bhopal, was allegedly pushed into a ditch and attacked by the man.

A MONTH after a 24-year-old woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in Bhopal by an unidentified man, which left her with serious injuries, Madhya Pradesh police Friday constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe if there were any lapses in the investigation. The police also invoked more stringent provisions relating to sexual assault and attempt to murder.

On January 18, the police had registered a case on charges of assault on woman with intent to outrage her modestly.

A PTI report quoted sources as saying that the woman’s mother petitioned Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan about the police’s alleged heavy-handedness two days ago. On Friday, after the woman’s family approached Chouhan, the fresh stringent charges relating to attempt to murder and sexual assault were added.

The assault took place on January 16, when the woman, who was walking near JK Hospital in Kolar area of Bhopal, was allegedly pushed into a ditch and attacked by the man. He not only forced himself on her but also hit her with stones. In her complaint, the woman said she pleaded with him to spare her life as she was being brutally attacked. The fall into the ditch also left her paralysed.

Based on her complaint, officials at Kolar police station registered a case under IPC Section 354 and its relevant sub-sections, and started investigations.

“The SIT, which is being headed by a City SP, will probe the conduct of the investigation adequately covered under Section 354 or if it needed several more stringent sections. Based on the final report, further action will be taken,” said Irshad Wali, DIG, Bhopal.

The medical report of the woman, according to the police, has ruled out rape.

There is no doubt the nature of injuries called for the provision on attempt to murder, which was done much later, he said. The police have now invoked Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 307 (attempt to murder).

According to the police, the accused was caught from the neighbourhood days after the crime. Although the police collected CCTV footage

from a nearby shop, the video was not clear.

Bhopal Collector Avinash Lavania on Friday announced free medical treatment for the woman.

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