Press Trust of india

CB expands probe in Kathua case to Meerut

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Jammu/New Delhi, May 10: The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch has expanded its probe in the Kathua rape-and-murder case to identify those who allegedly signed the attendance register at a Meerut college on behalf of an accused while he had gone to his village where the crime was committed, officials said here today.

They said a Crime Branch team was camping in Meerut and taking inputs from the local police there.

The police team has examined some of the witnesses as it is alleged in the charge-sheet that Vishal Jangotra, accused of raping an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, had tried to create an alibi of his absence from the crime scene by allegedly “resorting to manipulation of records and creation of false evidence with the connivance and assistance of his father Sanji Ram”.

The officials said three people, who are suspected to have signed the attendance sheet on his behalf, are wanted by the Crime Branch.

The three were in judicial custody after being arrested by the Meerut police in connection with a question paper leak case.

Jangotra, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from a college in Meerut district, has been charged by the Crime Branch of raping and helping in the murder of the girl in Kathua along with a juvenile, the main accused and a relative of Sanji Ram, and special police officer Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu.

The juvenile, whose bail plea was rejected by a court last month, is the main accused in the case.

The Crime Branch had earlier put its investigation on hold and was awaiting an order of the Supreme Court which had been petitioned by the victim’s side for taking the trial out of Kathua and the accused side pleading for handing over the investigation to the CBI.

In its May 07 order, the apex court had said “the pivotal fact around which the controversy centres, is abduction, rape and murder of an eight year old girl”.

“An FIR was lodged at Hiranagar Police Station, Kathua…The investigating agency, namely, the Crime Branch, which took over the investigation on 22nd January, 2018 from the local police has already filed the charge-sheet on 9th April, 2018, in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua in the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the order had said.

The apex court had transferred the case to the court of the District and Sessions judge in Pathankot, Punjab, 30 km from Kathua.

The Crime Branch, according to the officials, has also seized some more documents and sent it to ‘Questioner of Examined Documents’ (QED) in the national capital for verifying the handwriting samples.

A report from Central Forensic and Scientific Laboratory about the CCTV tapes seized from the examination centre was also expected soon, the officials said, adding that a supplementary charge-sheet was expected to be filed by second week of June.

The officials suspect that someone from the university had allowed Jangotra to write his answer-sheet after the examination was over on January 15 as his train had reached late from Jammu.

The officials also alleged that the accused had deliberately visited an ATM and was seen looking at the camera to create an alibi for himself.

In its charge-sheet, the Crime Branch had mentioned that some officials of the university had allegedly received a “huge amount of kickback from accused Sanji Ram”.

“This aspect needs further investigation as records are to be collected from concerned college and university….after conducting further investigation supplementary charge-sheet shall follow,” the charge-sheet had said.

Jangotra is among eight people who have been charge-sheeted by the Crime Branch in the rape and murder of the girl.

The charge-sheet also claimed that Sanji Ram, the alleged main conspirator, had planned the kidnapping of the girl only to drive away the nomads from the Kathua region.

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