The Uttar Pradesh police on Friday constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder of an infant in Aligarh amid huge public outcry.
A forensic team will also be part of the probe to ascertain the full nature of the crime; preliminary autopsy reports ruled out rape and concluded the child was murdered by strangulation.
The SIT would be headed by SP (Rural) Aligarh and would include SOG and surveillance teams for technical support, said UP ADG Law and Order Anand Kumar.
The officer said the SIT would gather “forensic science and scientific evidence” and the case would be probed on a fast-track mode and sent to court.
If fresh accused come to light during the investigation, they would also be punished by law, he said. So far, the police have arrested two accused, Aslam and Zahid, for allegedly murdering the 2.5-year-old infant in Aligarh’s Tappal area. The victim’s family has alleged other people were involved in the crime. One of the accused has a criminal past: he faces two cases of POCSO, one in Aligarh and another in Delhi, said Mr. Kumar.
“We will try to secure for them the stringest punishment,” said Mr. Kumar, stressing that the POCSO Act will also be invoked against the accused. The police have already initiated steps to slap the NSA against them.
The post-mortem report could not ascertain rape, police said.
SSP Aligarh Akash Kulhary said the use of acid on the infant could also not be ascertained. However, the “slides” have gone for forensic investigation in a laboratory and it will take 14-15 days to get a report, said Mr. Kulhary.
A forensic team from Agra will also come to Aligarh to recreate the crime.
The SSP said five policemen, including the in-charge inspector and two sub-inspectors, were suspended for negligence. The policemen caused a delay of 17-18 hours in the probe after they initially asked the family to search for their child on their own, said the officer.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the “horrific murder of a little girl in Aligarh, UP has shocked and disturbed me.”
“How can any human being treat a child with such brutality? This terrible crime must not go unpunished. The UP police must act swiftly to bring the killers to justice,” he tweeted.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the incident was "yet another inhuman, unspeakable crime against an innocent child.” “I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her parents must feel. What has become of us?”
BSP chief Mayawati said the incident was shameful and deplorable, and asked the UP government to take swift and strict action to establish rule of law.
According to police, the infant's family lodged a complaint on May 31 at the Tappal police station that their infant daughter had gone missing and was kidnapped. Even as the family desperately tried to search for the child, her body was recovered from near a waste dump in a mutilated state.
According to the preliminary findings, the accused Zahid and the victim's father shared personal animosity and Zahid had threatened the father two days before his daughter went missing. The victim's father owed some money to Zahid, police said.