Vakapalli gang-rape case: Probe was blatantly defective ab initio, alleges rights and women’s organisations

Investigation was carried out to protect fellow police personnel, and was therefore purposefully malicious, members of the rights and women’s organisations allege

April 07, 2023 07:14 pm | Updated 10:42 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Mahila Chetana president K. Padma addressing the media in Visakhapatnam on Friday.

Mahila Chetana president K. Padma addressing the media in Visakhapatnam on Friday. | Photo Credit: V. RAJU

Members of various women and rights organisations, addressing the media here on April 7 (Friday), alleged that the investigation into the Vakapalli gang-rape case was deliberately done in a defective way.

There was total lack of meaningful investigation, they alleged.

Human Rights Forum (HRF) functionary V.S. Krishna said the judgment delivered by the special court on Thursday vindicated the allegation of the women, Adivasi and rights organisations that the investigation had been compromised from the very beginning.

They alleged that the investigation was carried out “to protect fellow police personnel,” and was therefore purposefully malicious.

None of the procedures mandated by the criminal code was adhered to by the Investigating Officers (IOs). There was no attempt to conduct a test identification parade, or a potency test done as was the requirement under law.

“The IO only visited the village 10 days later on September 1, 2007, and the scene of offence a week later on September 8, 2007,” they alleged.

Mr. Krishna said this was one of the main reasons why in matters where the accused were police personnel, the rights organisations always sought a criminal investigation by a body that was as independent as possible of the local police.

“Policemen investigating the alleged crimes of their brethren makes a mockery of the law,” he said.

Mahila Chetna’s K. Padma explained the course of the case since the crime was committed on August 20, 2007. She dwelt on how the case went up to the Supreme Court, which finally directed on September 1, 2017, that the trial in the case must be expedited, after which it was committed to the Eleventh Additional District and Sessions Court in Visakhapatnam.

She alleged that the medical examination of the Vakapalli women at the King George Hospital, followed by the forensic process was deeply vitiated.

Functionaries of several organisations, including the A.P. Mahila Samakhya, All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Chaitanya Mahila Sangham (CMS), and Progressive Organisation for Women (POW), stated that the judgment was a moral victory for the resilient women of Vakapalli.

They were of the opinion that the court believed in the testimonies of the Vakapalli women, but in the absence of a fair investigation, which was crucial to prove a guilt, the accused got away with an acquittal.

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