Kathua rape case: All seven convicted by Pathankot court

Kathua rape case verdict today: The in-camera trial in the case was conducted on a day-to-day basis following the Supreme Court directions and was completed on June 3 with both the prosecution and defence counsels examining 114 witnesses in a year.

All seven accused in the rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua were convicted by a special court in Pathankot today. The case led to outrage across the country in January last year, with some groups in Jammu coming out in support of the accused.

According to the 15-page charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10, 2018, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death. State Crime Branch had arrested eight people including a former revenue official and his son, four policemen including a sub-inspector, a police head constable and two SPOs among eight accused. One of the accused is a juvenile.

The in-camera trial in the case was conducted on a day-to-day basis following the Supreme Court directions and was completed on June 3 with both the prosecution and defence counsels examining 114 witnesses in a year.

The in-camera trial in the case had ended on June 3, following which District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced that the verdict would be delivered today. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in view of the high-profile nature of the case. The trial was shifted to Pathankot from Kathua on directions of Supreme Court after the victim’s father had approached the apex court saying that he apprehended threat to his, his family and counsel’s life in Jammu.

There are eight accused in the case: former revenue official Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar, Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra and a juvenile who faces a separate trial. Two investigating officers – head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, are accused of destroying crucial evidence in the case.

Three of the seven accused are facing charges of rape in addition to other charges in the case. One accused is facing charges for attempt to rape and another accused is facing the charge for conspiracy behind the alleged gangrape. In addition to other charges, two officers of J&K Police are facing charges of gratification.

The charges have been framed under Sections 120B, 328, 363, 343, 376D, 302, 328 and 201 of the Ranbir Penal Code against the accused for criminal conspiracy, gangrape and murder.

Sanji Ram, considered the main accused, is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy along with the other accused, to kidnap the girl as part of a strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.

Source: The Indian Express

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