Two days after the three key witnesses in the Kathua gangrape and murder case alleged torture by the police, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that attempts are being made to impede the probe. The state, meanwhile, sought time from the apex copurt to respond to the allegations of torture against the Jammu and Kashmir police.
On May 14, three college friends of a key accused in the sensational Kathua gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl moved the Supreme Court alleging torture and sought protection from a central agency. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had then agreed to hear the plea of these students, who hail from the Jammu region of the state, on May 16.
Lawyer Ravi Sharma, representing students Sahil Sharma, Sachin Sharma and Neeraj Sharma, sought urgent hearing on the plea alleging that they and their families were being coerced by the Crime Branch of the Jammu and Kashmir police. The Jammu-based students, who are pursuing B.Sc in Agriculture at a college in Muzzafar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, are classmates of Vishal Jangotra, a key accused in the case, the plea said.
The lawyer said the students were "coerced to make statements contrary to the facts that Vishal Jangotra was with them at Muzzafarnagar from January 7 to February 10. During that period, he along with petitioners attended examinations and practical papers." "Petitioners were subjected to the physical and mental torture from March 19 to March 31 by Respondents (state police officers)," the plea said.
The lawyer alleged that the students were constrained to move the apex court seeking security as they faced "imminent threat to their lives at the hand of the Crime Branch." Besides seeking security by a central agency, the students alleged that despite recording their statements, they were being served with police notice to re-appear for re-recording of their statements.
Earlier, the apex court had transferred the trial in the sensational Kathua gangrape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl from Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab, but had refrained from handing over the probe to CBI saying there was no need as the investigation has been conducted and the charge sheet filed.
The apex court, which ordered day-to-day "in-camera" trial in the case, had said there was a need to shift the trial outside the state as "fear and fair trial" were contradictory and "cannot be allowed to co-exist." The victim, belonging to a minority nomadic community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later. The state police has filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district.
OneIndia News with PTI inputs