Stating that the second suspect in the Unnao double-murder case is not a minor as per his Aadhaar card—an assertion contested by his family—the Uttar Pradesh police Saturday said it has several pieces of evidence, including an eyewitness and call records, that link both the accused persons to the alleged poisoning of the three Dalit girls.
“We have a wrapper recovered from the crime scene. We have also recovered a bottle which was recovered based on what the accused told us about the crime. The bottle also had some liquid. All these items will be analysed by experts. We have the confession of the accused too. We also have an eye witness who has identified the accused and has said that he saw them fleeing the crime scene on the day of the incident. It has now become clear that the accused mixed the poison in water, so the bottle is an important piece of evidence. We also have CDR records of one accused. It shows that he was near the crime scene on Wednesday evening when the incident happened,” said Unnao SP Anand Kulkarni.
The police had on Friday claimed to have solved the case with the arrest of 28-year-old Vinay and the detention of another person. At the time, the police had said the second suspect was 15 years old. They said Vinay had confessed to mixing insecticide in water to target the eldest girl, 17, after she spurned his advances. While the younger cousins, 13 and 16, were found dead, the 17-year-old is in a private hospital in Kanpur.
A medical bulletin issued Saturday by the Kanpur hospital said she is “off ventilator and has spontaneous respiration and is under constant monitoring”.
On Saturday, the police presented both the accused persons before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Unnao, which sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.
The SP, meanwhile, said that it was found that the second accused, who was being treated as a minor till Saturday, was aged 19 based on the date of birth on his Aadhaar card. “We will seek police custody in court tomorrow. We are treating the younger accused as an adult after we found that on his Aadhaar card, his age is 19.”
The father of this youth rebutted the police claim. A daily wager, he told The Indian Express: “My son is not more than 14-15 years old. We are not educated and don’t know these things. When his Aadhaar card was being made at the government school, everyone said that I should increase his age. They said that if I don’t do so, he will not be able to get an Aadhaar card and that it is a must.”
Asked if he had any other document to prove his son is a minor, he said: “We only have his Aadhaar card.” He added: “My son is innocent. He was at home when the incident happened.”
Meanwhile, Vinay’s sister, Seema, 17, alleged that he was framed “due to political pressure”.
“My brother was at home when the incident happened. He is being framed in the case because there is pressure and politics is happening,” she added.
Vinay’s sister asked how three persons can consume water with poison and not know about it. “If he gave them insecticide, how did all three drink it?” she said. Police had Thursday said that according to the post mortem report of two girls, a pungent smelling substance was found in the stomach. Asked about the contention, SP Kulkarni said: “I will be able to comment on this after analysis of liquid from bottle recovered comes. Only then will we know what kind of poison was used.”
Police on Saturday gave out more details about how “they traced the two persons accused in the case”. Police claimed that the younger accused started “shaking and shivering” during the first round of questioning.
“We had brought the younger one as an eye witness initially, and were asking him routine questions when he started shaking and looked very nervous. That is when we felt that he knows something about the crime. We then questioned Vinay, who said that he knew one of the girls and spoke to her at the farm regularly. In the second round of questioning, the younger accused told us about the incident,” said SP Kulkarni.
He said that the two accused moved the girls around 10 feet from where they had collapsed after consuming the poison. “The younger one moved one of them, while the elder one moved the other two and the fled,” said the SP.
The family members of the deceased girls Saturday said that they are content with the investigation and police’s findings.