Press Trust of india

Kathua rape case: Punjab & Haryana HC issues notices to J&K, convicts

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Chandigarh, Jul 18:  The Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday issued notices to the Jammu and Kashmir government and six men convicted in the case of rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua on a plea by her father seeking enhanced punishment for them.

The court also issued a notice to the accused who was acquitted in the case by a lower court.

In the petition filed on July 10, the girl’s father had sought enhancement of the convicts’ sentence to capital punishment and life imprisonment, and also challenged the acquittal of one accused.

“The court Thursday issued notices to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and all the accused in the matter,” petitioner’s counsel Utsav Bains said.

The division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh Sidhu fixed August 07 as next date of hearing, the counsel said.

The father had prayed that the sentence of Sanji Ram, the mastermind of the crime, Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer (SPO), and Parvesh Kumar should be enhanced from life imprisonment to capital punishment.

The petitioner had also prayed that the sentence of special police officer Surendra Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta be enhanced from five years to life imprisonment.

The acquittal of Vishal Jangotra has also been challenged by the petitioner.

Last month, a court in Pathankot had awarded life imprisonment till the last breath to Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar.

They were convicted under sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) relating to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention.

The court, while acquitting Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram, had sentenced three other accused–Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Verma – to five-year jail.

As per charge-sheet filed in April last year, the girl was kidnapped on January 10 and was raped in captivity in a small village temple, whose caretaker was Sanjhi Ram, after keeping her sedated for four days.

She was later bludgeoned to death, it said.

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