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Kathua rape and murder: Signature of accused not matching with exam attendance sheet: CFSL report

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Srinagar: The signature of Vishal Jangotra, an accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January, does not match the one which he claimed to have signed in an exam attendance sheet in Meerut to claim he was not at the crime scene, according to a report of forensic experts.

The report by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL), detailing this conclusion, has been submitted to the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police, according to officials in the probe team.

The Crime Branch, meanwhile, issued notices to all the three friends of Vishal for appearing before it for questioning tomorrow after the Supreme court gave a go ahead on May 17 for their further examination.

The officials said the report has stated that Vishal had not put the signature on the attendance sheet and it was done by someone else.

Vishal, one of the eight accused arrested in the case for raping and murdering the girl from the minority nomadic community, had claimed that he was in Meerut and had never visited Kathua when the crime was committed. He had also told the investigators that he had signed the attendance sheet before the examination on January 15.

The Crime Branch had sent the attendance sheet to CFSL for having an opinion as the probe indicated that the signatures appeared to have been made by some friend of Vishal as his train from Jammu to Meerut was late and he had reached Meerut after the examination was over, officials said.

The “Questioner of Examined Documents” (QED), who is an expert on examination of handwriting samples, opined that the signatures on the attendance sheet did not match with that of Vishal, son of Sanji Ram, the alleged mastermind of the murder, the officials said.

The Crime Branch has already expanded its investigations into the gang rape and murder case to nail the people who had signed an attendance register on behalf of Vishal at the Meerut college.

Police wanted to again question his three friends — Sachin, Neeraj and Sahil — but they had approached the Supreme Court earlier this month alleging harassment by the Crime Branch.

The apex court on May 17 refused to come to their rescue and directed them to appear before the Crime Branch but said in its order that “a relative of each of the witnesses shall be allowed to accompany him, but the said relative shall not enter into the investigation room. However, he shall remain at a reasonably visible distance.”

While making this concession, the apex court made it clear that these directions “should not remotely be inferred that there is any kind of harassment by the investigating agency”.

The officials said that the three would be questioned tomorrow and all the directions of the apex court would be adhered to.

The officials suspected that someone from the university had allowed Vishal 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 chargesheet, the Crime Branch had mentioned that some officials of the university had allegedly received “huge amount at kickback from accused Sanji Ram”.

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

Vishal is among eight people who have been charge-sheeted by the Crime Branch in the rape and murder of the girl. The chargesheet also claimed that Sanji Ram, who has been termed as a main conspirator, had planned the kidnapping of the girl only to drive away nomads from the Kathua region.


BJP leader leads rally for CBI probe

Kathua: BJP leader and former minister Lal Singh today led a rally from Lakhanpur to Hiranagar in Kathua district to press for a CBI probe into the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in January.

Singh and another BJP leader Chander Prakash Ganga had resigned from the Mehbooba Mufti-led government in Jammu and Kashmir in April after they courted controversy by participating in a rally in support of the eight people arrested by the crime branch in connection with the rape-murder case.

After resigning, Singh started a campaign across the Jammu region and has organised dozens of rallies, candle-light marches and protests demanding CBI probe into the incident.

Today, Singh and his supporters started the ‘Dogri Swabhiman (self-esteem) rally’ from Lakhanpur, bordering Punjab, to Hiranagar and walked the 35-km distance barefoot, with other participants raising slogans in support of a CBI inquiry.

“This rally is an answer to all those who labelled the Dogras of Jammu region as pro-rapist, hate-mongers and communal people with bigoted mindset and accused Dogras of creating hurdles in delivering justice in the rape and murder case,” Singh said.

He said a CBI probe into the incident is sought as the people of Jammu region have raised serious questions about the crime branch investigation.

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