Kathua Sessions Judge Sanjeev Gupta on Monday postponed the case pertaining to rape-murder of the eight-year-old girl to 28 April as the crime branch of the J-K Police had so far not provided the copy of the charge sheet to the accused persons.
The beginning of trial of the infamous case was fixed for Monday, but except postponing it to the next date no other proceedings took place as the crime branch did not provide copy of the 490-page charge sheet to the accused although the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had demanded fast-track trial of the case.
The court complex was jampacked as a large number of people turned up to witness the proceedings. Police had made elaborate security arrangements in the town.
Eight persons named as accused in the charge sheet told the Sessions Judge that they have not been provided copies of the charge sheet that was mandatory before filing it in the court, said Aseem Sawhney who is representing the police head constable Tilak Raj. He said that intentions of the prosecuting agency have been exposed as copies of the charge sheet were not provided to the accused so far.
It was perhaps for the first time that the accused in the case also urged the court for their narco test so that truth could come out, said their lawyer Ankur Sharma.
The court directed the prosecution to provide copies of the charge sheet to the eight accused, who allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in captivity in the village temple at Rasana for a week in January during which she was kept “sedated and sexually assaulted” before being beaten to death.
One of the accused’s daughter told mediapersons outside the court that the girl was not raped and was murdered by someone who has so far not been traced by the crime branch and as such, she demanded that the investigation of the case should be transferred to the CBI for a free-and-fair probe.
The victim’s father has approached the Supreme Court for transferring the case outside Jammu and Kashmir so that a fair trial could be held.
The charge sheet has named a retired revenue officer, Sanji Ram, who was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.
The charge sheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. All eight, including a juvenile, are in custody.
While seven of the accused perpetrators will be tried in the Sessions Court, the chief judicial magistrate of Kathua will hold the trial for the juvenile. The accused include four police officers and a retired revenue official.