Kathua rape and murder: Crime branch files charge sheet against 7 accused amid resistance by some local lawyers
Srinagar, April 9: The crime branch of police has filed charge sheet against seven accused person in ghastly rape and murder eight-year-old Asifa Banu in Kathua district in January this year.
“We have filed charge sheet against seven accused persons and charge sheet against a juvenile person will be field separately,” IGP Syed Afadul Mujtaba told GNS.
At the time of filing of the charge sheet, some lawyers protested, leading to “law and order’ situation, sources said. Later police had to be called to the spot to tackle the situation, sources said.
“There was some resistance and that has been tackled. The charge sheet has been filed,” the IGP said.
The charge sheet has been filed few days after DNA test confirmed that the victim was held captive inside a temple before being strangulated after rape.
Official sources told Srinagar-based news agency GNS that the crime branch, probing the rape-and-murder, had found hair strands from Devistan temple in Hiranagar after one of the accused revealed during interrogation that Asifa was held captive inside the temple. The crime site was searched and the hair strands were found and sent to Forensic Laboratory (FSL) New Delhi. The report confirmed that they were that of Asifa.
The report was received by the crime branch along with the postmortem report which has also confirmed the seductive medicine ( Clonazepam) used to unconscious the girl by the accused.
An official of the crime branch said that after receiving the medical report, a charge sheet would be filed before the competent court of jurisdiction in next few days.
The investigating agency has so far arrested eight accused persons including the mastermind Sanji Ram and his son Vishal Kumar, a police head constable, two SPOs and a sub-inspector of police in connection with the crime.
Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, surrendered before the crime branch on March 20 and the development came a day after his son Vishal Kumar was arrested from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, in connection with the case (FIR No: 10/2018 U/S 363, 320, 376, 302 RPC). Both father and son were evading arrest in connection with the gruesome rape and murder which send shock waves across the state.
The investigations had revealed that it was not a random crime but part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua. Sanji Ram has been bent upon to dislodge the nomad community from Rassana village, the probe said.
“The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon dislodging the Bakarwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy (with others),” the SIT submitted in a status report before the high court last week.
The minor girl had been missing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests, and her body was found on January 17.
The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that a SIT, under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case.
On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch.