The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet on the Hathras case, filed on December 18, has reportedly mentioned that the victim and the accused Sandeep Singh were in a romantic relationship. The CBI reportedly found a record of a total of 115 calls exchanged between the victim and the accused from October 2019 to March 2020.
The UP police during their investigation had found out that Sandeep used to receive regular phone calls from the number registered in the name of the victim’s brother. Sandeep Singh belongs to the same village and was constantly in touch with the victim. The family of the victim has, however, denied having spoken to Sandeep before. The witnesses had reportedly told the CBI that the victim’s family had found out about their relationship and a fight had taken place between the two parties outside Sandeep’s house.
CBI charge sheet made victim’s last statement as the basis
The CBI filed the charge sheet on the basis of the final statement given by the victim on September 22. The matter be heard on January 4 in a special court set up under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Amid the opposition from the opposition leaders as well as the family of the victim, the Uttar Pradesh government had transferred the investigation of the case to the CBI for a fair and impartial investigation.
The incident took place on September 14 after which the victim was admitted at Safdurjung hospital in Delhi where she passed away on September 29. The initial medical report did not mention rape. The victim’s brother had also not mentioned rape in the complaint registered on the day of the incident. The rape allegations surfaced much later on September 22 when the police recorded the statement of the victim. The CBI report has been filed under sections 302, 376, 376A and 376 D of the Indian Penal Code and under the relevant provisions of the SC and ST Act.
The Hathras case had created massive political debates in the country, especially after media reports twisted facts and started claiming that the victim had been brutalised. It is notable here that the initial statements of the victim, the family’s FIR and statements had all alleged a strangulation attempt. However, later, the family had added the charges of rape and eventually gang rape to their list of allegations. Since the victim was a Dalit, political parties had tried to exploit the caste violence angle. Medical and forensic reports had dismissed sexual assault claims. The entire timeline of the case, media misreports, political spins and controversies, and the government’s actions can be read here.