Court acquits rape-murder accused, pulls up police

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Nagpur, Mar 6 (UNI) A trial court has acquitted for lack of evidence a teacher, charged with rape and murder of a lady doctor, and pulled up the police for slipshod investigation into the case, in Buldhana district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.

District Sessions Judge M C Khadke yesterday acquitted Chhagan Singh Rabade of the charges of committing rape and murder of Dr Varsha Motisingh Ghote (25), in February last year.

The police had earlier released two suspects for deficient evidence.

In his 110-page judgement, Mr Khadke observed that mere suspicion could not be evidence of an offence against an accused. The court said it was not satisfied with the loose ends in the investigation.

''Dr Ghoti's watch was seized from the possession of one of the suspects. Although she had a bus pass, a bus ticket was found in her purse. A photograph of a young man was also found in it. However, for reasons best known to them, the police did not investigate further into these pieces of evidence,'' the court said.

According to the prosecution, Dr Ghoti was found dead near village Gotmara in the district on February 9, 2007. Her body was found in a naked condition, with her clothes in a neat pile just nearby.

She had been raped before being done to death by smashing her head with a stone, it said.

The police registered an offence on February 15, 2007, and arrested three people -- identified as Chhagan Singh Rabade (a teacher), Jawan Singh Machhale and Jawan Singh Manjja -- in this connection. However, the police later let off Machhale and Manjja vide the provisions of section 169 (release of accused when evidence deficient) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), and filed a charge sheet against Rabade only.

The incident had sent shock waves in the district at the time since Dr Ghoti was the first girl from the tribal community in Buldhana district to obtain a medical degree.

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