The body of a 16-year-old girl was found suspended from a tree in Lalimati forest in Jharkhand’s Palamu district on Wednesday. The minor’s right eye was gouged out before she was killed and her body hung from a tree, said the police.
The girl, a resident of Budhabar village under Panki police station limits, was the daughter of a local BJP leader. She was a student in Class 10.
The girl’s body was cremated at the local crematorium on Wednesday evening. She was the eldest of the BJP leader’s five children.
A preliminary analysis of call data records (CDR) of a mobile phone recovered from the scene of the crime has led to the arrest of one Pradeep Kumar Singh Dhanuk (23) in connection with the case. Dhanuk, the primary suspect, is a married man and could have had accomplices, said the police.
When did girl go missing
According to the girl’s family, she went missing after leaving home at 10 am on June 7.
Ashok Kumar, station in-charge (SI) of Panki police station, said the girl’s family had filed a missing persons complaint on Tuesday. The police were searching for her when locals found her body hanging from a tree in the forest near Budhabar village, he added.
The girl’s body was found suspended from a tree using a cloth, with her right eye gouged out. Officials suspect that she was mercilessly beaten before the culprits killed her and hung her body from a tree in order to make it appear like a case of suicide.
Her body was sent to the Medini Rai Medical College in Medininagar for a post-mortem on Wednesday. The girl’s family alleged that she was sexually assaulted by the murderers.
Wait for post-mortem report: Police
Palamu Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjeev Kumar said the post-mortem report will establish whether this is a case of rape followed by murder.
“The police is investigating the matter from all possible angles,” SP Kumar said, adding that preliminary evidence indicates that the victim might have been involved with a man.
SP Kumar said, “The victim’s family was strongly opposed to it. There is information about a heated exchange of words and scuffle between the family and the victim a few days back, after which the victim went missing.”
Meanwhile, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said the party would demand an independent probe if the police investigation is unable to quell the grieving family’s doubts.
Editor’s Note: The name of the local BJP leader has been withheld out of respect for the victim and the aggrieved family.
(With inputs from Karunakaran in Palamu)