Nov 12, 2022: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has directed that any old case of unnatural death be reopened if the family of the deceased requests it and the police think there were gaps in the investigation.
CM Sarma said at a press conference on Friday that such families can approach the Superintendent of Police (SP) concerned with their grievances to have the cases reopened.
“In the recently held conference of the superintendents of police, we have asked them to reopen and re-examine all the similar cases which are a year old. We instructed them to revisit the cases of unnatural deaths, which were closed by the court or police by terming them as suicides,” he said.
This order from Himanta Biswa Sarma follows the June death of a 13-year-old girl who worked at the residence of a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawan in the Darrang district.
The CID of the police arrested the suspended district SP, the Additional SP, and the Officer-in-Charge of the Dhula police station, where the case was registered in June, for taking money from the accused in order to dilute the case.
In addition to the SSB jawan, a magistrate and three doctors who “sabotaged” evidence have also been arrested.
The CM further said that “In any unnatural case of death, if the guardians feel the investigation was not complete or the case could have been investigated deeper, they can meet the SP. The SP will look afresh at the case if there is a grey area. It could be a 15-year-old case. There is no time bar in criminal cases.”
“All such cases of the last one year will be revisited. From now on, the SP and the DIG concerned of the area will visit the crime scene and satisfy themselves with the probe. Unless they are satisfied, the case will not be closed,” he added.
The Chief Minister stated that efforts are being made to strengthen the system, “Often in cases of sexual assault and murder of domestic help, the accused claim the victim committed suicide. Sometimes, post-mortem and inquest reports do not help the police, rather they help the accused.”
The incident provoked outrage in the state, and the chief minister made a visit to the girl’s family on August 12 in response to their allegations that the police were negligent in collecting evidence.
Himanta Biswa Sarma after which directed the police chief to form a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident.
A daily investigation was carried out under the direct supervision of senior officers.