Pipili gang-rape and murder: Crime Branch moves HC

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Cuttack: The Crime Branch (CB) on Thursday moved the Orissa High Court challenging the verdict of a lower court of acquittal of two prime accused in the Pipili gang-rape and murder case.

According to reports, the CB has appealed the High Court to adjudicate the case and punish the culprits.

On December 24, the court of the additional district judge, Bhubaneswar acquitted the two accused brothers—Sukant Pradhan and Prashant Pradhan —due to lack of evidence against them.

The verdict, acquitting the two prime accused siblings, triggered state-wide resentment followed by protest from opposition parties alleging negligence in the probe by the investigating agency.

The CB had earlier consulted additional public prosecutor over the issue and he had opined that there was strong and valid reason to move a higher court.

Notably, the 19-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped at Arjungoda village in Pipli police limits of Puri district on November 29, 2011. The victim was allegedly targeted as she was the prime witness in an alleged gang rape case that took place in her village in 2008 in which her friend was the victim.

While the police allegedly refused to register a case in the matter initially, they registered an FIR on January 9, 2012, after the intervention of State Human Rights Commission.

The victim died at the SCB Medical College and Hospital on June 21, 2012, after spending more than four months in a coma. The case had triggered a political storm in the state leading to the resignation of former agriculture minister.

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