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SC directs to move Kathua rape and murder accused from J&K to Punjab

By Chennabasaveshwar

New Delhi, July 9: The Supreme Court has directed the police to move the Kathua rape and murder accused from Jammu and Kashmir to Punjab's Gurdaspur jail. The apex court also directed the J&K police to file a supplementary charge sheet in the case within eight weeks.

Sanji Ram, one of the eight accused in the alleged Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, being produced before the district and sessions court, in Pathankot, Punjab

The accused have been transferred to Gurdaspur jail in Punjab to cut down on travel time in the day to day trial.

Deepika Rajawat, victim's lawyer, said, " We are happy with the order. It feels like the Supreme Court is always with us to support us."

Last month, the prosecution in the Kathua rape-murder case withdrew its application seeking transfer of the accused from Kathua to Pathankot District Jail during pendency of the case after the Punjab government did not accede to the J&K government request for it.

A battery of at least 31 lawyers from Pathankot and Jammu were present to defend the seven accused men during first hearing of the day-to-day trial which began at the Judicial Court Complex in Pathankot on June 1st.

In April, two of the accused strongly opposed in the Supreme Court the plea for transfer of the trial from Kathua court to a court in Chandigarh. The father of the eight-year victim girl had sought shifting of the case to ensure free and free trial.

Opposing shifting of trial outside Kathua court, two accused Sanji Ram and Vishal Jagotra said they have been falsely implicated in the case as accused 1 and 5 pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua, where the charge sheet has already been filed.

The Kathua rape case refers to the abduction, rape, and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018.

The victim belonged to the nomad Bakarwal community. She disappeared for a week before her dead body was discovered by the villagers a kilometer away from the village

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