Press Trust of india

Kathua rape-murder case:  Punjab & Haryana HC to hear victim’s father today

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Chandigarh, Jul 17:  the Punjab and Haryana High Court will Thursday hear the plea of the father of the girl who was raped and murdered in J&K’s Kathua last year, seeking enhancement of the sentence pronounced by a trial court and challenging the acquittal of one of the accused.

In his petition filed on July 10, the eight-year-old girl’s father had sought enhancement of the punishment for the six men convicted in the case that triggered outrage nationwide.

“The bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sharma will hear the matter on Thursday,” petitioner’s counsel Utsav Bains said.

The girl’s father had pleaded that the sentence pronounced on three of the convicts should be increased from life imprisonment to capital punishment.

The three others should be awarded life imprisonment instead of the five year’s jail term awarded by the Sessions court, the appeal said.

He has also challenged the acquittal of Vishal Jangotra, another accused in the case.

Last month, a Pathankot court awarded life imprisonment to Sanji Ram, the mastermind and caretaker of the small village temple where the crime took place in January last year.

Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and Parvesh Kumar were also awarded the same sentence for the gang rape and murder of the girl from a nomadic tribe.

They were convicted under sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), including those related to murder, gang rape, kidnapping, destruction of evidence and conspiracy.

While acquitting Vishal Jangotra, the son of Sanji Ram, the court had sentenced Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta, Head Constable Tilak Raj and special police officer (SPO) Surender Verma to five years in prison.

According to the charge-sheet, the child was kidnapped on January 10 last year and raped in captivity at a small village temple managed by Sanji Ram, after being kept sedated for four days.

She was later bludgeoned to death, it said. Her body was found on January 17.

The convicts had also filed an appeal against the Pathankot Sessions Court verdict, claiming that they were falsely implicated in the case.

The trial was shifted to the Pathankot court on the directions of the Supreme Court last year.

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