Top Himachal Pradesh Police Officer, 7 Cops Arrested For Rape Suspect's Death

Zahur H Zaidi, the Inspector General of Himachal Pradesh's Southern Range, Deputy Superintendent of Police Manoj Joshi and six other policemen have been arrested by the CBI.

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Top Himachal Pradesh Police Officer, 7 Cops Arrested For Rape Suspect's Death

CBI arrests 8 policemen including top officer Zahur Zaidi arrested in Shimla custody death case.

NEW DELHI:  A top officer of Himachal Pradesh police and seven other policemen were arrested on Tuesday for the custody death of a man accused of the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in July. The rape and murder in Kothkai, 55 km from capital Shimla, had led to widespread protests in a state that is widely considered safe for women.

Zahur H Zaidi, the inspector general of southern Himachal Pradesh, Deputy Superintendent of Police Manoj Joshi and six other policemen were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case on July 22 following public anger.

The body of the 16-year-old was found on July 6. Six men were arrested in the case. Suraj Singh, a labourer from Nepal who died in police custody on July 21, was one of them.

Police say Suraj Singh was killed by another man, Rajinder Singh, who is the prime accused in the case. He allegedly killed Suraj Singh by smashing his head on the floor of the police station.

According to the police, Rajinder Singh had offered a lift to the teen while she was walking home from school on July 4. He allegedly took her to an apple orchard where she was raped. Her body was found two days later in the woods nearby in Kotkhai.

A special team headed by a top police officer Zahur Haider Zaidi was set up to catch the culprits. It arrested six people but the teenager's family insisted the real culprits hadn't been arrested. The death of Suraj Singh fueled the public anger.

Not many people believe the police version. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes member Swaraj Vidwan who recently met the family of the teenager claimed there were "gaps" in the police probe.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court had finally stepped in and ordered the CBI to take over the probe.

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