SC transfers Kathua rape and murder out of J&K, trial to be conducted in Pathankot
The Supreme Court has ordered the transfer of the trial in the Kathua rape and murder case to Punjab. The case which is being heard in Jammu and Kashmir will now be heard in Pathankot in Punjab.
The SC also ordered that the trial would be in-camera on a day to day basis with no adjournments. The court, however, allowed the state of Jammu and Kashmir to appoint a special public prosecutor to conduct the trial.
The order comes in the wake of a petition being filed seeking transfer of the case as a fair trial would not take place in Jammu and Kashmir where the offence took place. The J&K government had however said that it was capable of conducting a fair trial.
The plea was filed by the father of the 8-year-old girl who was gangraped and murdered at Kathua in Jammu in the month of January. The plea sought for the transfer of the case out of Jammu.
The father also sought security for his family and lawyers representing them. He also sought for the strengthening of security at the juvenile home where a minor accused is lodged. The police have in all named 8 accused in the case.
The court ordered that the government should continue to provide security to the victim's family. Further, the police were also ordered to provide security to the family's advocate.
Appearing for the family, senior advocate, Indira Jaisingh said that the atmosphere is not conducive for a fair trial. The atmosphere is highly polarised, she also said. She also added that she was pleased with the investigation by the police. However there is an attempt to derail it, she also said.
The victim from a minority nomadic community was allegedly held in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
According to the chargesheets filed by the Crime Branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the nomadic community from the area. A separate chargesheet was filed for the juvenile. The counsel for the accused demanded a copy of the chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch on April 9 before the chief judicial magistrate.
Meanwhile, the sessions court will hear the case on April 28. All the accused persons were brought before the court which directed that chargesheet copies be provided to each of them. The counsel for the accused, Ankur Sharma also said that they were ready for a narco-analysis test.
The 8 accused and their role:
Sanji Ram, 60: He is the prime accused in the case. A retired revenue official, he is said to have masterminded the attack. He wanted to push the Bakarwal community out of the Rasana village. He is said to have incited his nephew to abduct the girl. The nephew a minor was reminded about how he was beaten up by members of the Bakarwal community in the past.
Sanji Ram's nephew: The boy is aged 15 and is a juvenile. He was instigated by the uncle to commit the crime. He is the one who strangled the girl to death before hitting her face with a stone.
Deepak Khajuria: A special officer, he had some enmity with the Bakarwals. He convinced Sanji Ram's nephew to kidnap the girl and gave him the assurance he would help him pass his exams.
Parvesh Kumar: He is a friend of the juvenile. He along with the juvenile drugged the girl in the forest. The two had taken her to a temple later and repeatedly raped the girl.
Vishal Jangotra: He is also accused of raping the girl. On January 13 Parves, Vishal and the juvenile took the victim from the temple to a nearby area and killed her.
Tilak Raj: This head constable is alleged to have taken Rs 1.5 lakh from Sanji Ram's sister to hush up the probe.
Anand Dutta: A sub-inspector, he is alleged to have taken Rs 3 lakh to scuttle the probe. A deal of Rs 5 lakh was struck with him and he was to pay the remaining money after tampering with the evidence.
Surinder Kumar: A special police officer, he is alleged to have conducted a recce.