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Taking cognizance of allegations of evidence tampering by a police officer in a woman’s suicide case, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Saturday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a “fair and impartial” probe.

Pronouncing the order a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Deepak Gupta transferred the case to the CBI while hearing two petitions – one of the victim’s father and the other of her maternal uncle.

As the case came up for hearing, the state counsel objected to a parallel media trial by the petitioners.

“Even the family members of the victim were not cooperating with the probe being conducted by the police,” he said.

Justice Joseph observed: “It would be more appropriate that the investigation be conducted by an outside agency – the CBI.”

He said the CBI shall not divulge any information to the media till completion of the investigation.

“The media trial certainly hampers the investigation, if not vitiates it,” he observed.

The victim’s family had alleged that a senior police officer had tampered with the evidence and was interfering with the investigations being carried out by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the state police.

Ritu, 28, hanged herself from a ceiling fan at her residence in Shimla March 28. She reportedly committed suicide after her bid to marry Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pradeep Kumar Sarpal’s son Sidharth was rebuffed.

Sidharth, a sub-judge in Mandi district, and Ritu knew each other for 15 years, the victim’s relatives said.

As per the first information report, Sarpal, his son and some policemen entered Ritu’s house after her suicide and tried to tamper with the evidence. None of her relatives was present in the house then.

Subsequently, police booked Sarpal, his wife and son for abetment to suicide and tampering with evidence.

Sarpal has already proceeded on a long leave

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