Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday accepted the affidavit of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director and exempted him from personal appearance in rape and murder case of a 16-year-old girl in Kotkhai area of Shimla district.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and justice Sandeep Sharma had earlier directed the CBI director to appear before it on 9 May as the court wasn’t satisfied with investigations into rape and murder case.

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However, the court today expressed satisfaction over CBI report and accepted the investigating agency’s affidavit.

The court posted the matter for hearing on 29 May and directed the CBI officials to file final status report on the next date of hearing.

Earlier on 14 April, the CBI had arrested a youth, who is a woodcutter from Hatkoti area of Shimla district, and claimed to have solved the case.

The accused whose is a native of Baijnath in Kangra district was arrested on the basis of DNA evidence and he had reportedly confessed to have committed the crime.

A 16-year-old girl from Kotkhai, had gone missing while returning home from school on 4 July. Her body was found in the woods on 6 July with multiple injuries on her body. Her autopsy had confirmed that she was gangraped and strangulated to death.

Following public outrage over the ghastly crime, the government had sought court intervention to hand over the investigation of case to the CBI after public pressure.

However, during the pendency of the petition, one of the six accused, arrested by the state police in the case, was killed in the lock-up on 19 July 2017, which flared up the public sentiments more.

Nine arrests, including that of an Inspector General of Police heading the state Investigation team, have so far been made accused in the custodial death case and all of them are behind the bars.