The Gauhati High Court on May 28, 2021, issued an order to constitute a new investigating team consisting of three experienced officers, including a woman police officer, to investigate the sexual assault case which occurred at IIT Guwahati on March 28.
The investigating team would be headed by Mrigakshi Deka, IPS, presently SDPO, Rangia, with two other members to be selected by the Superintendent of Police of the district in consultation with Mrigakshi Deka.
On May 18, 2021, the victim filed a writ petition which sought the investigation to be taken up by a special investigative team, consisting of women police personnel. The petition also called for North Guwahati police officials, especially Mukut Baishya, the former investigating officer, from investigating the case any further. The petition also mentioned that another female student present at the scene wasn’t questioned by the police.
Reliable sources state that the accused Utsav Kadam was also involved in physical violence, while the victim was lying unconscious. Three other students allegedly connected with the crime willfully neglected the violent activities at the crime scene.
According to the victim’s FIR dated April 7, 2021, instead of informing the concerned authorities, the accused persons present at the crime scene employed questionable means to revive the victim back to her senses despite seeing her lying unconscious for a long time. These students turned a blind eye to the criminal act/s perpetrated by the accused, thereby putting the victim’s life in danger. The victim arrived at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition.
On April 2, 2021, at about 11.45 PM, a lady police officer recorded the victim’s statement at the IIT-G campus. The North Guwahati Police then arrested Kadam, a third-year B.Tech student, alleged to have committed an offence under section 376 IPC. Four other IIT-G students were also arrested on the same day and released the next day by the investigating officer of North Guwahati P.S. Case No.53/2021.
Three cases were registered against sexual assault, one by GMCH(North Guwahati P.S. Case No.53/2021 U/s 376, IPC), one by IIT-G (North Guwahati P.S. Case No.55/2021 U/S 376 IPC)and one by the victim(North Guwahati P.S. Case No.56/2021 U/S 376/328/307/120B/34, IPC).
Apart from Utsav, four other students were identified to be involved in this criminal offence. Sources told EastMojo that while the degree of their involvement is unclear, there are a lot of loose ends in their narratives. It has also been confirmed that there has been negligence and delay on their part to inform the authorities and seek medical help for the victim. The sources informed that this was done deliberately to cover up the crime perpetrated on the victim by the key accused Utsav Kadam with the aid of the others present at the scene of the crime.
IIT Guwahati constituted a ‘fact-finding’ committee to probe the incident. A copy of their report has been attached to the FIR lodged by IIT Guwahati. Although Utsav and the others were questioned by the internal committee, they could not get any concrete answers about what happened during the period of around two hours when the victim was unconscious except that they were trying to regain her senses without seeking recourse to medical attention for the victim.
EastMojo spoke to a lawyer as to under what provisions of the law were the others released the next day itself. “Why the others have been let loose in the light of the findings in the FFC report (which is part of the IITG FIR) that they were present at the crime scene is a pointer towards inaction of the police – for reasons best known to them. The police must also answer why they let off the others when the FFC report was with the IIT FIR.”
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