Skip to main content

Investigators cast doubt on rape claim in Indian teen-hanging case

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 8:14 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
  • Evidence was sent to a special DNA fingerprinting facility in southern India for re-examination
  • Investigators highlighted several discrepancies in the post-mortem report
  • Five people arrested after two girls were found dead hanging from a tree
  • Authorities do not plan to charge the arrested men, who included two police officers

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Two teenage girls, who were found hanging from a tree in northern India in May, were not raped as originally alleged, according to new forensic reports commissioned by federal investigators.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sent samples obtained by police in the northern Uttar Pradesh state, where the incident had happened, to a special DNA fingerprinting facility in southern India for re-examination after it took over the case, an official source told CNN Tuesday.

"(Test) results didn't show the girls were sexually assaulted," said the CBI source, who requested anonymity. "There were also several discrepancies in the post-mortem report."

But with the latest evidence appearing to rule out rape, investigators, for now, have dropped plans to file charges against the five.

"The CBI is not going to file the charge-sheet against them as of now. However, we are not giving them clean chit either," CBI spokeswoman Kanchan Prasad said.

Arrests in rape, hanging of two girls
Fighting 'boys will be boys' in India
Can Modi change India's rape culture?

She said the investigation into the girls' killing would continue.

Under Indian law, suspects in custody for serious crimes become eligible to apply for bail if formal charges are not filed against them in the trial court within 90 days.

Left hanging from tree

Five people, including two police officers, were arrested after the girls -- who were cousins aged 14 and 16 -- were left hanging from the branches of a mango tree in a remote village in Budaun district on May 27.

A photo from the village showed the body of one girl, dressed in a green tunic and pants, hanging from the tree. A large group of people, many of them young children, were gathered around the grisly scene.

The girls' families filed a complaint accusing three brothers of rape and murder.

Police said an autopsy confirmed the girls had been raped and strangled.

No quick fix for India's rape crisis

Widespread anger

The case caused widespread revulsion in India and beyond, reminding people about the brutal gang-rape of a girl on a public bus in Delhi in December 2012.

Back then, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was traveling home from a movie with a male friend when at least five other men on the bus dragged her to the back of the bus and then beat up her friend.

The men took turns raping the woman as the bus drove around the city for almost an hour, police said at the time. The two friends were then dumped by the side of the road, with the young woman later dying from her injuries.

That incident energized activists and women generally, with government officials promising action to ensure that girls and women feel safe.

Rape order on child brings scrutiny on India's village councils

The girl whose rape changed a country

Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 3:21 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.