Dodging the police and media alike in Uttar Pradesh, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi eventually surfaced suddenly in Nighasan town of Lakhimpur-Kheri district, about 170 km from Lucknow, to call on the family of the minor girl who was brutally done to death in the local police station premises exactly 19 days ago.
Fourteen year old Sonam was strangulated to death after being allegedly gang-raped by cops posted at the Nighasan police station on June 10.
After reaching Nighasan, he went straight to the humble tenement of Sonam's parents and spent nearly an hour with them.
Local media converged there in large numbers by the time he stepped out of the victim's house. "I am shocked at the fact that this family has not even been given a copy of the FIR lodged 17 days ago; after all a heinous crime has taken place in which a child has been brutally killed," Rahul told mediapersons.
He said, "This family needs justice of which there is no possibility here; that is why they are asking for a Central Bureau if Investigation inquiry," while adding , "this case has clearly demonstrated how little girls could be murdered in police stations of Uttar Pradesh."
Immediately thereafter, he visited the Nighasan police station and made several inquiries related to Sonam's killing.
Her death was initially dismissed by police as suicide, but following much media criticism and the family's demand, a second autopsy was carried out confirming it as a case of strangulation.
As many as 11 policemen posted at the police station and three doctors who conducted the first autopsy were suspended.
The case was handed over to Crime Investigation Department by the UP government.
Ramchandra, a follower (cook) at the Nighasan police station has been arrested while sub-inspector B K Singh and two constables -- Uma Shankar and Shiv Shankar -- have been booked for destroying evidence.
Earlier in the day, Rahul arrived in Lucknow by a service flight around 1 pm and headed for Lakhimpur Kheri after giving the media a slip on the crowded streets of Lucknow.
Even UP Congressmen as well as state intelligence officials remained clueless about his destination, even after he was sighted on the National Highway 24 which leads to Delhi.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to Rahul Gandhi's secret visit to Lakhimpur-Kheri murder and rape victim's home, ruling Bahujan Samaj Party spokesperson on Wednesday flayed the Congress general secretary's "double standards."
Terming the visit as "politically motivated," the spokesperson asked, "If Rahul Gandhi was really so much concerned about the well-being of women, then why has he not cared to pay a visit to the two women who were raped in Delhi's Kalkajee and Dwarka localities or the more recent rape of a woman in a police station in Haryana?"
The spokesperson was of the view, "Rahul's action had clearly demonstrated how his intention was to only target a non-Congress ruled state, and blatantly overlook similar crimes against women in Congress ruled Delhi and Haryana."
Taking a dig at the Congress leader, the spokesperson quipped, "It appears that Haryana and Delhi were very far away from Rahul's residence."
Accusing Rahul of "playing politics in view of the state assembly elections in sight", the spokesperson said, "We are confident that Rahul Gandhi will not be seen in the state once elections are over."
Dismissing Rahul as an "irresponsible leader", the spokesperson cited the Congress celebrity's more recent "allegations about rape and mass killings in Bhatta Parsaul were proved baseless and false by an institution no less than the National Human Rights Commission."