As police, GRP fight over jurisdiction, BHU studentís death probe is the casualty

20-yr-old Manal was found dead on railway tracks in Varanasi in August last year

For the last three months, police in Varanasi and Government Railway Police (GRP) are quarreling with each other over who should probe the death of BHU student Manal Bansal, whose body was found on the railway tracks in the city in August last year. This despite the instructions from the chief minister's office for investigation into the case.

Initially, police did not lodge an FIR over the death of 20-year-old Manal, who stayed at Bhabha Hostel. A preliminary inquiry termed it as a case of suicide. The FIR was registered on October 18 last year only after Manal's father, Gyanesh Gupta, approached the chief minister's office and alleged that his son was a victim of ragging. Following which, a case of murder and causing disappearance of evidence was lodged against unidentified persons at Lanka police station in Varanasi.

However, within a month of filing the FIR, the police sent the entire probe record to the GRP saying it should investigate the case because the body was found on the railway tracks. The GRP returned the document back saying the local police should complete the probe as in their initial investigation they had ruled it as a case of suicide and claimed that no ragging had taken place in the university.

"When the local police have mentioned in their record that it is a case of suicide, then what is left to investigate? They should further investigate and find the motive what led Manal to take the extreme step. Moreover, BHU falls under Lanka police circle jurisdiction," said GRP Senior Sub-Inspector SK Yadav.

A resident of Aligarh, Manal was a first semester student of MCA at BHU. On August 21, the GRP called up his father and informed that his son had died in a train accident and the body was found on railway tracks. Gupta rushed to Varanasi, where he was handed over the body after postmortem. Police searched Manal's hostel room, but did not find anything suspicious. In its preliminary inquiry, it came to light that two days before the incident, Manal had gone to visit his mother Asha Gupta, who is Gyanesh's first wife and stays in Varanasi. Gyanesh had divorced Asha around 10 years ago. On August 21, Manal left her mother's home for university and was later found dead.

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