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Kathua rape-murder case: Separate charge-sheet filed against another accused

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Jammu, Apr 10: Crime Branch of police probing the rape-and-murder of a minor girl, filed a separate charge-sheet today against another accused, who was earlier said to be a juvenile, at a court in Kathua district, even as the incident has snowballed into a major controversy.

While the political parties in the state traded charges over the handling of the case, the issue also acquired communal colours due to association of the accused with a right-wing groups.

Yesterday, a senior police official had said the Crime Branch has filed a charge-sheet against seven of the eight accused in the case, even as the Kathua bar association claimed the officials were compelled to leave the court premises without filing the charge-sheet amid protest by local lawyers.

“We have filed a separate challan (charge-sheet) against another accused in the court today,” a top police officer said.

The police have also filed an FIR against lawyers for protesting and attempting to prevent the Crime Branch officials from their filing charge-sheet in the court yesterday.

The body of the girl, from the Bakherwal community, was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.

On January 23, the government had handed over the case to the Crime Branch of the state police which formed a Special Investigation Team and arrested eight people including two Special Police Officers (SPOs) and a Head Constable, who was charged with destruction of evidence.

Among the accused, former Revenue department official and the alleged conspirator, Sanji Ram (60), surrendered before the Crime Branch on March 20 after his son, Vishal, was arrested from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a senior Crime Branch officer, following a medical examination on March 07, the accused who was thought to be a juvenile, was found to be 19 years old.

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