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Updated: November 14, 2011 11:13 IST

No candles for Yogita Thakre

Meena Menon
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Yogita Thakre. Photo: Vivek Bendre
The Hindu
Yogita Thakre. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Using RTI, family sees cover-up in death of child in BJP leader's driveway.

Later this week, a magistrate's court will have a final hearing on closing the case of a young girl, Yogita Thakre, whose bruised and lifeless body was found two years ago inside a car parked on the premises of Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari's residence here.

The CID, which was asked by the High Court to investigate how the seven-year-old child died, concluded her death was accidental. But her family suspects Yogita was killed and wants the matter handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Yogita died on May 19, 2009. While the broad details of the case are well known, replies obtained from the police by the family under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and shared with The Hindu paint an unflattering picture of the police — and subsequent CID — investigation, which concluded her death was due to accidental suffocation.

The documents lend credence to the family's charge that the investigation was compromised at the outset, when the police changed the make and colour of the car from which Yogita's body was recovered to a brown Fiat Linea — despite the spot panchnama being carried out on a white Honda CRV, the vehicle in which her family affirms the girl was found dead. A copy of that panchnama was obtained by the family recently through the RTI route and it notes the complainant — Yogita's father, Ashok Thakre — being present while identifying the Honda as the car with the body. The Honda belongs to Mr. Gadkari and is used by his family as a personal car, while the Fiat is owned by Sudhir Dive, managing director of the Purti group of industries, of which Mr. Gadkari is chairman. Both cars were parked in the Gadkari compound.

Yogita's mother, Vimal Thakre, who works as a domestic help in the Mahal area, had asked the guards at the house around 5.30 p.m. on May 19 whether they had seen her daughter. She had been with them two hours earlier but the guards said they didn't know where she had gone. Then around 7 p.m., when Vimal went back to the house, she was told by Manohar Panse, the driver, that Yogita was “sleeping” inside a car. In fact, she was dead and Mr. Gadkari's personal assistant told her to take away the body in a cycle rickshaw.

The case was handed over to the CID in May 2010, after her parents filed a petition in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court saying they didn't trust the local police. Last December, the police filed the CID's report in a magistrate's court seeking closure of the case on grounds of her death being an accident. The report says Yogita died due to suffocation after she got inside a car with a faulty locking mechanism. The magistrate has set the final hearing for November 16.

If the police's conclusion is correct, the child must have entered an unlocked car which subsequently got locked, she must have struggled to get out without being noticed by the guards or others who might have walked past the car on their way to the house entrance, she left no recoverable fingerprints on the inside windows, door handles or horn of the vehicle, and then suffocated after bruising herself on her face, arms and thighs while thrashing about on the rear seat. All of this is impossible, her family says.

This article was corrected for a grammatical error

Thanks to Hindu to bringing the story to masses. This is journalism.

Dont people (police) have children of their own? Will they keep quiet
if something happens to them.. why can't they put themselves in the
parent's shoes and think for a this justice?

The court should make note that CID did not do their job and
chargesheet the appropriate person there as well. Otherwise we will
end up giving all their work to CBI to cover up the inability of the

from:  Rajesh Narayanan
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 09:14 IST

party, money and influence seem to get away with the most obvious of crimes, when not ruling. one can only predict when ruling how many more will disappear without any clue. they call it karma.

from:  Albert
Posted on: Nov 15, 2011 at 08:35 IST

Mr. Hrishikesh, the inside page detailed story on the incident clearly mentions that Gadkari was not at home at the time. I think you are wrong to accuse The Hindu of witholding this fact. In fact, it has reported it. In any case, no one suspects Gadkari had a role in the death of the girl. But the fact that body is sent away in a rickshaw and there has been no investigation does not speak very highly of Gadkari either. That is a fact.

from:  Thampi
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 22:58 IST

I just don't get it. First there was a confusion in cars for no reason the doctor says that there is no chance for yogita to die because of suffocation -then how did she die? I should Thank and appreciate Hindu for putting this on the cover page.....

from:  soundar
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 22:46 IST

Thats pathetic.Totally a make up story by the police to protect and cover the mighty.Mr. Gadkari, you speak for common man and this is your response when an innocent girl is mysteriosly killed instead of coming up with proper support and help you asked to take the body in a cycle rickshaw.Shame shame.Hindu please take this story on the highest level, let the truth come out.Why common man always suffer at the hand of these useless so called leaders.

from:  Imran
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 21:45 IST

i cant belive how could this happened on 7 year old girl.i want the case to be reopened.i cant think about how yogithas mother lived in these two years.iapperciate HINDU for puttng this news on front page.which makes everyone noticed

from:  swathi
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 20:57 IST

Wonder what Raj & Udhaav Thakre had in their replies??
AND What the party with a "difference" has to say when something like this is going on in its president's own campus???

These incidence makes the case of democracy a joke when all the parties take same stand and no one opposes the ill-happenings with the weak and Poor.

Thanks to THE HINDU, for making it a front news on their website, hope it might help the family.

from:  Manish Chaurasiya
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 20:44 IST

I really appriciate Hindu for making this front stroy, but there is so much to add to it and ask pple to wake up and fight for justice..
whole day all twitted this subject..

from:  vaidehi sachin
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 20:02 IST

Thanks to the Hindu for publishing this article. A shocking revealation that demands high level investigation to unearth the truth. The truth must come out and the investigations have to be followed up by right thinking citizens of this country. Had this little lovely flower been not of poor origin in terms of financial status, the picture would have been different certainly. Let us plead the Hindu to take the lead for follow up activities towards the investigating agencies in the public interest and for democratic values that we honour in our mother land.

from:  A. M. NANU
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 19:41 IST

This is a clear story of if you have power, you rule. The callous attitude on the part of Mr. Gadkari's security men as well as the statement of the police is unbelievable. Just because the poor girl's parents cannot fight it out with the higher echelons; it does not mean that they do not have the right to get justice for their daughter's untimely death. The circumstances under which Yogita died lead to a different story completely from what the police is claiming to be. The culprits should be brought to book as soon as possible be it through a CBI enquiry or any other investigation. It is strange why Mr. Gadkari has not spoken on this matter at all. He should respond to this incident as a president of a National Party.

from:  Sneha Bhattacharjee
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 19:38 IST

On Sunday 13th November 2011I was travelling by Bus in route 26 and it hit a car at the junction of Fair Oaks near the freeway. The driver stopped the bus went to the car driver to find it he was okay and telephoned police and told them "it was my mistake since I failed to see the red light" I was surprised and wondered if this ever could have happened in India

from:  Mani Iyer
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 18:47 IST

such a huge shame. people with money and influence seem to get away with the most obvious of crimes.

from:  MS
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 18:39 IST

I think some BJP supporters are unnecessarily getting worked up. A small girl has been murdered and nobody knows how. If a respected national leader does not come out and pro-actively support the investigation of murder of a small child near his house, how can we expect such a person to lead the nation? Maybe his adversaries murdered the girl and put her body in the car deliberately, who knows?
This incident also shows that all the politicians(Congress/NCP/BJP) are hand-in-glove with each other to cover up an issue if it escapes the media attention -- only when the media exposes it, all drama from the political side begins which is most of the time meaningless.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 18:25 IST

While it is commendable that the Hindu has brought this matter to the front page headlines, and there is no doubt that this matter must be thoroughly investigated, one must also ponder over this: what possibly could have caused someone to murder that 8 year old girl? Are there any reasons to suspect why someone could have done such a thing? Or are people just blindly hurling allegations against politicians? It is quite possible that the girl died from asphyxiation when she got locked up in a car with a faulty locking system. Cars with automatic locking systems do create problems at times. Even during the Mumbai floods of 2005, there were people who died of suffocation while traveling, when the ever increasing water levels disrupted the electronic locking systems of the cars on the road.

from:  AV
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 17:54 IST

Nitin Gadkai is as much a criminal and corrupt politician as any other! Can poor ever hope to get justice in the flawed and corrupt Indian criminal justice delivery system!! Every criminal investgation is full of corrupt practices right from the get go - FIR, panchnama, evidence collection, interrogation.. you name it!!! And this is coming from someone who has been part of the system for 40 years and tried to change it one case at a time!

from:  Ajit
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 17:25 IST

Some question how murder cases are handled in India: How many crime labs are in India ? For the crime rate in India, even a 100 is not enough. What is the conviction rate in India ? Less than 5% - 10%. How many times are death sentences imposed for murders ? Rare. How many executions are carried out for murder? Almost none. How many murders go unreported or misreported: Large fraction. Coming to the girl... Seven-year old girl surely can press the horn or bang on the window if she was not murdered by locking her alive or other means? Was the car thoroughly finger printed ? Was every hair strand taken out of the vehicle or surrounding. If the girl struggled, you should have LOTS of her finger prints. If there are NO finger finger prints, it is quite possible her murdered body was put in. Struggle can be ascertained by not alone finger prints, but hair strands. Yet again, CBI do not know how to investigate a murder case.

from:  Kalpana
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 17:04 IST

It is so clear, there is a brutal murder involved, highly impossible for getting suffocation in the normal atmosphere. In this Children Day... how these brutal creatures do harm, they should be punished with torturing.... there should be strict punishment for these kind of brutal murders.. how they think about doing such things with small children.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 16:54 IST

The incidence is tragic. However the writer fails to mention that on
that fateful day MR. Gadkari was out of station .The timing of the
article is highly doubtful. How on earth could a police department and
CID under congress NCP will let the apportunity to tarnish an apposition
leader to slip away, thats thing to ponder

from:  hrishikesh
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 16:26 IST

i m out of words and i can't imagine anything worse than this. these kind of traumatic incident fractures an individuals faith in democracy .
there is no point in endorsing that we are democratic setup unless and untill we can't deliver justice to our citizen (dividend of our future).

from:  vivek
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 16:20 IST

This is exactly why ANNA HAZARE is not the saviour of our problems. His
LOKPAL BILL will not save us from corruption or anything. It is the
Justice system that will solve the problems of common man and country.
Not having faster honest justice is the reason why we are so behind
other developed countries.Revamp the Judicial system.

from:  bzach
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 16:02 IST

What ever be the situation, the politicians look for SELF FIRST.. A kid's fate should never end like this.. The case should be taken by proper investigating agency and should be probed into. . wonder how our judiciary is still silent??

from:  Sandip
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:46 IST

Above incident shows that carelessness of police,the case must be investigated in a proper manner with transparency as above information says that death was not because of suffocation.If the death occurred because of suffocation there should be finger prints on the door glasses but finger prints are not there.Case must be reopened and investigated with transparency.Justice should be done for Yogita Thakre.

from:  Bharavi
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:41 IST

14th of November, when our country celebrates Children's Day, parents of young Yogita Thakre mourns over death of their child. Sad part they might never know what ordeal this young child had gone through and who caused her the same and for what. Mind just turns upside down while reading such a horrific story. How can someone possible do this, to such a young child? The logic of good or bad fails here, i fail to understand WHY? Just hope these people get some brains to at least understand the loss, which might stop them from further wrong doings.

from:  amit
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:36 IST

Almost everyday the media fishes out something serious against some opposition leader or anti-government activist. Interestingly the media is not ready to accept the police version of any crime if the suspect who is let off by the police is an opposition leader or anti-government activist. If it is convenient for the government to put the onus for the 2G scam on A.Raja and Maran, the media sollows everything CBI says about them. No questions asked! The fourth estate should do better.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:09 IST

this clearly is a cover up by some high profiled politicians. Even a blind man can judge that it was a murder and not an accident. My heart goes out to the parents of the girl. Poor people are nothing in front of the political might of the culprits. How can we expect justice when the entire political system has become just a mere game for these shameless creatures? Atleast this newspaper has published the news. There is not even a mention of it in the other major online news papers. I thanks The Hindu for the brave efforts and hope that Yogita gets justice.

from:  Sameer
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:09 IST

I appreciate The Hindu for bringing up this news in front page and for everyone's notice. How can we help the child's parents to fight for their justice and not let the culprits get away with such a hineous crime? If such people get away with this , there will be more to follow. I beg you to please follow up on this. We want our children to grow up in a safer environment.

from:  Janani Chandran
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 14:07 IST

I don't really understand. There could be a case for negligence here but I don't see what real motive could be there for the killing of a young girl at Gadkari's residence. I doubt there is one enough to justify the riskiness of the business. So, I feel the death would most likely be a case of gross negligence. But still, the cover-up is quite apparent. Cases involving influential politicians and people with clout should be investigated by higher agencies in order to minimize the corruptibility of the investigation.

from:  Arnav Kacker
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 12:05 IST

Even giving a thought about the trauma that must have been inflicted to Yogita, my soul shivers.The case needs to be reopened and all offenders must be booked.

from:  vivek
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 11:55 IST

I totally agree with mr.Rajarshi

from:  hari
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 11:29 IST

People remember this when you vote.
Anna Hasare why dont you take up this case?

from:  kulasekar
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 11:22 IST

As usual you will feel sympathy for the victim's parents they being helpless even to dream of justice.

from:  vinsus
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 11:10 IST

This really shows that some lives are less valuable then others in this country , Justice for poor still remains a distant and costly dream , I hope media can pressurize for a thorough probe in this case

from:  Bharath V
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 11:07 IST

This is really unacceptable from any one.

this case must go to CID's for investigation and our government should take action towards this case if our govt can't take care of our children how can they run our country. Really shameless..

from:  Sunena
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 10:35 IST

Happy Children's Day, Mr. Gadkari. And the Police department too. This is insane, humiliating, unacceptable. Totally out of words. A country which cannot take care of its children, does not have any right to celebrate children's day.

from:  Rajarshi
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 10:12 IST

Is the leader and his personal assistant heartless that they asked the mother to take Yogita's body away on cycle rikshaw? It is sickening! Jis duniyame daya dharam nahi us duniyame rahna kyare? soch sazlo nadan!

from:  Krishnapriya
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 09:16 IST

This is a fit case to be investigated by the highest investigating agency of our country, still ensuring that the agency doesn't give in to any influence from any quarters. Also, considering the seriousness of the case (an innocent girl loosing her life in most suspicious circumstances), the case should be referred to the Supreme Court for justice.

from:  Murtuza
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 08:10 IST

how sad. whereas kids born in affluent families get away doing anything - even ramming the car on homeless people sleeping on the pavement. A poor kid, for fear of being caught for just entering a car, has lost life. With how much struggle a human life comes to bear and to see it being lost on such trivial matters is pathetic ...

from:  Sankar
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 07:57 IST

How is that it takes two years to investigate the cause and that too for a conclusion of suffocation?. The entire episode of shades of coverup and foul play. It is pathetic that justice is not served when you are downtrodden and do not have a voice over the political and other influences. Especially if its an innocent child we better act as a society, seriously look at all leads and bring to justice and the right closure to the family.

from:  Dev
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 04:41 IST

A Sad Story.The truth must prevail so that the family which lost this
young flower gets justice.

from:  Sundar
Posted on: Nov 14, 2011 at 00:11 IST
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