SrinagarIn an astounding turn, investigations into the Kathua rape-and-murder case have revealed that it was not a random crime but a part of a wider conspiracy to dislodge the Bakarwal community from the Rassana village in Kathua, the mastermind of which has been identified.
The probe has also revealed that the minor among the three arrested persons is an adult.
The medical board constituted by the Crime Branch on the directions of the High Court to ascertain the age of the youth who was claimed to be a teenager by the police has concluded that he is actually an adult, sources said.
On the basis of physical, dental and radiological examination, the approximate age of the individual is above nineteen years (19+), the medical board, according to sources, has said.
Picked by the principal of the Government Medical College in Jammu, the board had examined the arrested youth on February 28, and its opinion was communicated to the Special Investigation Team of the Crime Branch on March 5.
The SITs questioning of Deepak Khajuria one of the two Special Police Officers arrested - has revealed that before being sent to the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL), the clothes of the victim were washed by police head constable by the name of Tilak to destroy evidence in the case.
The SIT has submitted these details before the high court in a status report and has stated that it seems that the head constable had done so with an intention to screen the offenders from legal punishment.
The head constable was arrested on March 7.
The role of other officials associated with the initial investigation but involved in destruction of material evidence is being looked into, the SIT has said in its report to the high court.
On the basis of witnesses conversant with the facts and circumstances of the case, the SIT has concluded that the entire game plan of the gruesome rape and murder was premeditated and the mastermind has been identified and would be arrested soon.
The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon dislodging the Bakarwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy with (others), sources quoted the SIT as having said. The High court has posted the case for next date of hearing on March 14.
Asifa Bano had been missing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests , and her body was found on January 17.
The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that an SIT under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case and a medical report of the murdered girl was expected within a couple of days.
On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch. (GNS)
Rajasthan Passes Bill On Death For Rapists
Jaipur: Rajasthan on Friday became the second state, after Madhya Pradesh, to unanimously pass a bill awarding death to those found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below.
In December last year, the Madhya Pradesh assembly had unanimously passed a similar bill. Soon after that Rajasthan minister Gulab Chand Kataria had told the assembly that his government similar to that of Madhya Pradesh is mulling to bring a law under which, those convicted of raping minors will be executed.
As per the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, cases of crime against children have become rampant in Rajasthan in the recent past. The BJP-ruled state recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8% of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children.
Capital punishment will be awarded to convicts under section 376 (A), which is related to rape, and section 376 (D, A), pertaining to gang rape.
The Bill will now be sent to the President for his assent after which it will become a law.
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