Mumbai: Facing flak for "failure" of police to make headway in the probe of alleged rape and murder of three minor sisters at Murmadi in Bhandara district, Maharashtra government on Monday announced that case would be handed over to CBI.
Home Minister R R Patil made the announcement in the state Assembly.
Three girls -- aged 11, 8 and 6 years -- went missing from their house on February 14 and their bodies were found in a well two days later. Initially there were allegations of rape and the case has not been solved by police so far.
Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse, Devendra Phadanvis, Nana Patole (all BJP), Ashish Jaiswal (Shiv Sena) and others asked as to why the post-mortem was conducted 17 hours after the bodies were fished out.
"The bodies were kept in the morgue and left to rot," Phadanvis said.
Patil said the delay was because family members were not allowed by villagers to go to Bhandara civil hospital for the inquest. "The family came to the hospital only after police persuaded them," the Home Minister said.
Inquiry will be conducted as to why they were stopped from going to hospital, he said.
"If the family tells the government it is unhappy with the investigation, I would hand over the case to CBI," he said.
To this, Khadse said he had a letter of the victims` mother to Chief Minister, dated March 2, which said that as police had failed to crack the case, it be handed over to CBI. He further alleged that Police were pressurising their mother to withdraw the letter, which is why she was demanding protection.
On this, Patil announced that the case would be handed over to CBI.
Patil refuted the allegation that viscera were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory so that the post-mortem report, which had said the girls had been raped, could be contradicted.
The procedure was regular, he said.
Forensic reports later said there was no indication of rape.
Patil said forensic reports were also sent to experts at two hospitals in Mumbai (KEM and JJ), and another in Delhi.
"Two reports (from Mumbai) were similar to the first one, saying that there was no sexual assault. We are awaiting report from Delhi," he said.