The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday arrested a former Shimla Superintendent of Police, D.W. Negi, in connection with a schoolgirl’s rape and murder and the subsequent custodial death of an alleged accused in July. He is the ninth police officer to be arrested in the case so far.Mr. Negi was produced in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Ranjeet Singh who sent him to CBI custody till November 20.Mr. Negi was the district police chief of Shimla when a 16-year-old girl was raped and murdered in a forest in Kotkhai. He was in-charge of all investigations in the case before a Special Investigation Team was formed by the Director General of Police. Mr. Negi was transferred after the CBI took over the case following major protests across the State. The CBI has charged Mr. Negi with lodging a false FIR, tampering with evidence, hiding information and not doing a fair investigation.The agency had earlier arrested the then Himachal Pradesh Inspector-General of Police (Southern Range), Zahur H. Zaidi, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Theog) Manoj Joshi and six other policemen, all members of the SIT, in connection with the custodial death of a 29-year-old Nepalese labourer, Suraj, on July 19.Suraj and five others were arrested by the SIT for their suspected role in the gang rape and murder of the schoolgirl. The police alleged that they had kidnapped the girl in a vehicle on July 4, raped her and then strangled her before disposing of her body in a nearby forest. The body was found two days later.Opposition attackThe six alleged accused were in the Kotkhai police lockup where Suraj died on July 18, five days after he was arrested. The SIT claimed that a co-accused, Rajender alias Raju, had killed him. This claim was rejected by the CBI which started investigations into the case on the directions of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. The agency has registered two separate cases – one to probe the gang rape and murder of the girl and the other to investigate the custodial death of Suraj.Leader of Opposition and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who reached Shimla on Thursday, said that the arrest has endorsed the Opposition’s allegations that the authorities have messed up the probe into of rape and murder case. “The arrest of main investigator and senior police officer has approved our doubts of a possible government’s shelter to the accused in this case,” he said.