In a 'Swaroop Ka Tala' village of Barmer district, Rajasthan, bodies of three teenagers were found hanging from a tree on April 12.
While the police termed the deaths of cousins Shanti (13) and Madhu (12), along with Deshal Khan (17) as mass suicide, girls' family members believe otherwise.
Father of one of the girls, Bhairu Meghwal, claimed they were kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Girls went missing after midnight, were later found dead
Revealing what happened, the 41-year-old father said the cousins were sleeping with family. Past midnight, on Thursday, they went missing and were later found dead. He blamed Deshal for the incident.
However, Bhairu Meghwal failed to explain how the girls were taken away in the presence of the entire family.
The case has been registered under Section 174 CrPC (unnatural death).
Villagers confident of a relationship angle in deaths
A resident of the village told Indian Express, everyone sensed the three were in a relationship.
Notably, Bhairu Meghwal said he had complained about Deshal's troubling behavior to the panchayat, a year ago.
A relative of Deshal also said, "We did hear that he was friends with the girls...It must be love which made him take such a step."
However, Deshal's father is convinced his son committed suicide
Kasim Khan, Deshal's father, said, "I don't know why he did this as he wouldn't come home regularly. But there's no doubt about the fact that he committed suicide."
Few villagers also claimed to see a fourth set of footprint, leading up to the tree, fuelling the conspiracy about someone else's presence.
The investigating officers, however, refuted the claim and maintained it was suicide.
Circle officer says no trace of foul-play discovered
"During our investigation, we came to know that the girls told some of the women while working in a field that they'd commit suicide if Deshal decided to give up his life. We have found no trace of foul play," said Surendra Kumar, Circle Officer, Chohatan.