Two girls found hanging earlier this year in northern India committed suicide and were not gang-raped and murdered as previously thought, the country' top policing agency said on Thursday, News24 reports quoting AFP.
The cousins, aged 12 and 14, were found hanging from a tree in an impoverished village in Uttar Pradesh state in May, reigniting global outrage over crimes against women in India.
The families of the girls said they were raped and lynched by men from a higher caste after going into the fields at night to relieve themselves because their impoverished homes did not have toilets.
But the head of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Hindustan Times the girls committed suicide, after police earlier concluded that they were not raped.
"Our probe found that the two girls had committed suicide and weren't murdered," CBI director Ranjit Sinha said in comments published Thursday.
"The local police had erroneously conducted their probe along the lines that the sisters were killed," Sinha added.
A CBI official was quoted saying the girls took their own lives "because of family pressure owing to disapproval of their friendship with a villager"