BADAUN: Racing against time, CBI today began the exhumation of the bodies of the two sisters, who were allegedly raped and murdered at a village here in May, but had to suspend the operation as the rising river level of the Ganges threatened to inundate the graves.
Following the advice of three-member medical board, CBI started the process to exhume the bodies this afternoon as the rising river level threatened to submerge the graves, CBI sources in New Delhi said.
However, after efforts of nearly three hours when divers looked for the graves in eight-feet deep water, the agency had to abandon the process for today, they said.
"Exhumation process has been suspended due to rain and rising water levels in Ganga. District administration is contacting UP Bridge Construction Corporation for advance equipment," CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad said in New Delhi. The medical board and a CBI team are camping in Badaun and will review the situation tomorrow before proceeding to exhume the bodies, CBI sources said.
Executive Engineer of flood division D K Jain said in Badaun that he did not see any possibility of the operation to exhume the bodies resuming tomorrow.
Superintendent of Police (city) Maan Singh Chauhan said that the exhumation was earlier scheduled to be held on July 20 but considering the fact that the bodies might flow out of grave, the process started today.
He said that due to heavy rains and release of water from dams in Hardwar and Bijnor, the level of the Ganges has risen suddenly and the grave of the two girls have gone under around three-feet water.
The ASP said that difficulty was being faced in exhuming the bodies due to sand surface and strong current in the river.
District Magistrate Shambhunath said that to protect the graves bags of sand were put yesterday.
He said that along with the CBI team, which reached at around 3.45 pm, doctors, who had conducted the first autopsy, are present along with a three-member team of AIIMS, Delhi, and forensic experts.
CBI sources said the forensic experts have recommended that a fresh autopsy was needed before forming any opinion which will necessitate exhumation of bodies.
Following the recommendation, CBI has taken permission from the appropriate authority to exhume the bodies and proceed with a fresh postmortem.
The sources said there was no need to take the consent of the deceaseds' family members and the only permission required is from the local authorities.
The efforts of the local administration to protect the area of graves using sand bags failed as water breached the makeshift wall.
The need for a fresh autopsy was felt after the postmortem report of the local doctor was only suggestive of rape without conclusively proving it.
Highly-placed sources in CBI said the first post-mortem was conducted at night, which is usually against laid down procedures. Post-mortem is not conducted after sunset except in emergency cases.
The postmortem was conducted by a lady doctor who had apparently no prior experience of it, said the sources.
The two cousins, aged 14 and 15, went missing from their house on the night of May 27 and their bodies were found hanging from a tree in the village in Ushait area the next day.