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Two charge-sheets filed in Srinagar acid attack case

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Police wants juvenile accused to be treated as adult

Srinagar: Police on Tuesday filed two separate charge-sheets against three accused, including a juvenile, in the acid attack on a woman in downtown city, officials said.

Two of the accused, identified as Sajid Altaf Rather and Mohammad Saleem Kumar alias Tota, were produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate here as the police submitted a 1,000-page charge-sheet against them. The court committed it to the Principal Sessions Court and the hearing will begin from March 08.

A similar charge-sheet was filed against the minor before the Juvenile Justice Board with an additional application that he be treated as an adult under the amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, whereby youngsters in the age group of 16-18 can be tried under Indian Penal Code (IPC) if they are accused of heinous crimes.

The juvenile accused in this case is 17 years old, and was riding pillion on a scooty when Rather allegedly threw acid on the face of the woman in downtown Srinagar.

The officials said the two accused and the juvenile were charged under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 326-A (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid) of the IPC.

“We have filed a water-tight charge-sheet and we will make a plea to the court for a daily hearing of this case. If a daily hearing is not possible, we would request the honourable court for a speedy trial,” Srinagar’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rakesh Balwal said.

He said they have applied to the Juvenile Board to treat the minor as an adult according to Section 15 of the amended Juvenile act.

The charge-sheets were filed within three weeks of the incident to ensure swift and exemplary punishment to the accused and to deter those who may be having such “barbaric” tendencies, officials said.

“‘The maximum punishment under these sections is life and the minimum is 10 years but we will press for maximum so that it acts as a deterrent,” Balwal said.

He said a dedicated inspector rank officer has been appointed for liasoning with the prosecution team to secure a fast conviction in this case.

“I am glad that the charge-sheet has been presented and I will be contesting against the accused in the court of law and ensure speedy justice for the victim,” advocate Mir Naveed Gul, representing the victim’s family, said.

On February 01, a man accompanied by a juvenile allegedly threw acid on the 24-year-old woman after she rejected his marriage proposal, an incident that shook entire Srinagar and drew widespread condemnation from across society.

After initial treatment in Srinagar, the victim was sent to a Chennai eye hospital for specialised treatment.

Earlier, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar had said that the investigation is nearly complete and they would soon conclude the process by filing a charge-sheet in this case.

He had appealed to girls and their parents to inform the police at an early stage if any miscreant is stalking or harassing them so that action can be taken.

Giving a rundown of the probe into the incident, SSP Balwal, a 2012-batch IPS officer from Manipur, had said, “As we received the information (about the incident), a special team was immediately constituted and we were able to nab the culprits within 24 hours of the shocking incident.”

In her police statement, the woman gave details of the clothes worn by the accused.

A police team rushed to the residence of the accused and found those clothes concealed in a bed cavity, he said.

The accused revealed that he had been stalking the victim after she had rejected his marriage proposal.

On the day of the incident, the accused, who was working in a medical shop, took a break and went on a scooty towards the place where the victim used to work.

Initially, the main accused gave wishy-washy answers to police on the procurement of sulfuric acid. After he finally named the shop from where he got the acid, it was sealed for violating the Supreme Court guidelines on the storage and sale of acids.

“The main accused tried to mislead us on the procurement of acid, claiming that he had taken it out from the battery of his inverter at home, but a search conducted at his residence negated his theory.

“Finally, he gave us the name of his friend who used to work in a repair shop and our police team nabbed him too,” said Balwal, who was recently appointed as SSP (Srinagar).

The police accessed CCTV footage from shops around the area where the incident took place to nail the culprits in the case, he said.

“I am thankful to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which worked day and night in collecting forensic as well as scientific evidence in this case,” the SSP said.

He said the police had around eight statements recorded before a judicial magistrate to support the case.  (With inputs from PTI)

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