Trial in Kathua rape-and-murder nears completion

The trial in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir is nearing completion nearly a year after it began at a court in Punjab’s Pathankot, officials said Sunday.

Defence lawyers are likely to complete their final arguments on Monday, followed by a brief concluding statement from the prosecution team led by JK Chopra, they said, adding that the verdict is expected thereafter.

The day-to-day in-camera trial began in the first week of June last year at the district and session court in Pathankot after the Supreme Court directed that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir after lawyers in Kathua had prevented crime branch officials from filing the charge sheet in the case.

A political turmoil was witnessed in the Jammu region last January after the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch took over the case and arrested eight people, including a juvenile and two police officials who were accused of destruction of evidence.

The crime branch arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs. 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested by the crime branch. Charges of rape and murder were framed by the district and sessions judge against seven out of the eight accused. The trial against the juvenile is yet to begin as his petition regarding his age is to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

First Published:
Jun 02, 2019 22:30 IST

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