JammuFaced with a challenge to bring to book the culprits behind the Kathua rape-cum-murder of a minor girl, police reconstructed the scene of the crime to gather vital clues.
The body of the eight-year-old nomad Bakherwal community girl was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police filed two separate charge sheets against the eight accused persons including a juvenile held in the case. According to investigators, the girl was held captive inside a ‘Devisthan’, gangraped, kept without food and administered sedatives.
Her cause of death was asphyxia leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest, the investigations revealed.
“In the course of investigation the Special Investigation Team (SIT) members along with Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) experts and naib Tehsildar (executive magistrate) again visited the scene of occurrence and tried to reconstruct the scene of crime,” according to the charge sheet.
It said minute examination of these locations led to the recovery of various items including blood-stained wooden sticks and hair strand which were seized, packed and sealed by the magistrate.
The sealed packets containing the exhibits were sent to FSL for analysis and report. Besides, few hair strands recovered from ‘Devisthan’ and nearby forest where the body of the girl was dumped by the accused were forwarded to experts in Delhi for DNA profiling.
“On the basis of opinion furnished by the experts, one of the hair strands recovered from the Devisthan matched with the DNA profile of victim which confirmed that she was kept in captivity at Devisthan which is exclusively manned by the mastermind Sanji Ram to the exclusion of any other person of the area,” the charge sheet read.
Similarly, the hair strand recovered from the place of recovery of the body matched with the DNA profile of the juvenile who raped the girl several times after abducting her, it said.
Accused police officials – Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj – failed in their efforts to destroy the evidence by washing the clothes worn by the deceased after receiving Rs 4 lakh from the mastermind, it said.
FSL Delhi with updated technology was able to confirm the presence of blood stains on the clothes of the victim which matched with her DNA profile, it further said, adding DNA profiling also established presence of victims blood on the vaginal smears.
“As per the report of medical experts, the victim was found prima facie raped before being killed,” the police said.
The crime branch said the investigation also established that the victim was raped by more than one accused with common intention.
“The medical opinion also established the fact that the victim had been kept without food and administered sedatives and her cause of death was asphyxia leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest, the charge sheet said.
During investigation, call details of mobile phones used by the accused persons were obtained from quarters concerned.
The CDRs obtained have prima facie established the individual and common locations of all the accused in and around the scene of crime on crucial dates of occurrence.
The analysis of CDRs of accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer who raped the girl shortly before she was killed and her body dumped, revealed that he had remained in constant touch with his associate Surinder Kumar from the date of kidnapping of the victim,” the charge sheet said.
“This necessitated the questioning of SPO Kumar who was summoned and questioned but he could not give any plausible and tangible explanation regarding his telephonic conversation with Khajuria and sudden spike in their frequency despite of the fact that Khajuria had disclosed that he had sent Kumar to ascertain the movement of Bakherwals in and around Devisthan on January 14 and also to inform him regarding the condition of victim who then was held in captivity in Devisthan.
“In response to which, Kumar visited the Devisthan and conveyed to him regarding the movement of Bakherwals and condition of the victim. Besides some of the witnesses examined corroborated regarding the movement and presence of Kumar in and around Devisthan,” it said.
The charge sheet said Kumar was accordingly arrested and is at present in judicial custody.
“Further investigation in respect of his involvement in the case is being conducted which may include his narco-analysis for which his consent has already been obtained,” it said.
In the course of investigation, it said the statements of more than 130 witnesses were recorded.
Asifa was raped again before stoned to death
The eight-year-old girl was raped by six men, who had held her in captivity in a temple in Kathua district for a week in January and was sexually assaulted once again before she was bludgeoned to death chargesheet in the case has revealed.
The abduction, rape and killing of the Bakherwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, reveals the 15-page chargesheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here Monday.
It lists the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple, in Rassana village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.
Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma”.
The chargesheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.
A separate chargesheet was filed on Tuesday on the role of the juvenile, who cannot be publicly named according to the law.
All eight are under arrest. Lawyers in Jammu today struck work in support of the accused.
On January 11, six days before the child’s body was recovered from the Rassana forest on January 17, the juvenile phoned his cousin Jangotra and asked him to return from Meerut where he was studying if he wanted to “satisfy his lust”, the chargesheet stated.
The document lays bare the larger conspiracy to instil fear in the Bakerwal community and explains in chilling detail how it was carried out.
The eight-year-old had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses.
The day after their daughter went missing, the parents went to the Devisthan and asked Ram about her whereabouts. He said she may have gone to a relative’s house.
According to the chargesheet, the accused gave the girl sedatives to make her unconscious while holding her in captivity at the Devisthan’.
The juvenile, a school dropout, turned out to be the main player in the abduction and murder, raping the child repeatedly along with Jangotra and Khajuria.
The medical examination of the juvenile show he is an adult but the court is yet to take cognizance of the report, said an official.
“Khajuria lured the juvenile to kidnap the girl on the assurance that he will help him in passing the board examination (through cheating). Subsequently, he shared the plan, worked out by Ram and Khajuria, with Parvesh Kumar alias ‘Mannu’, his close friend and asked for his help in executing the plan,” the chargesheet stated.
Jangotra reached Rassana from Meerut after his cousin’s call and raped the sedated girl along with the juvenile and Mannu. Ram and his nephew performed the usual rituals to avoid suspicion.
It was on Ram’s direction that the child was removed from the temple and taken to a culvert in the nearby forest by Mannu, Jangotra and the juvenile with the intention of eliminating her.
According to the investigation, Khajuria also reached the spot and told them to wait as “he wanted to rape her before she is killed”. The chargesheet said the girl was once again gangraped and later killed by the juvenile.
“The juvenile hit the girl twice with a stone on her head and later dumped her body in the forest after their plan to throw the body in a canal could not materialize due to failure to arrange a vehicle,” it said.
On January 23, about a week after the body was discovered, the government handed over the case to the Crime Branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team.
in the course of investigation, it transpired that somewhere in the first week of January, accused Sanji Ram decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rassana area which had been brewing in his mind for quite sometime, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and his nephew (juvenile) as part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually, the chargesheet said.
Ram surrendered on March 20 after his son was arrested from Uttar Pradesh a day earlier.
Investigations revealed that Ram gave Rs 4 lakh to the police officers investigating the case in three installments.
After the body was recovered, head constable Raj, who knew about the conspiracy, met Ram at his home and requested him to hand over one of the accused as things had gone out of control due to the agitation by the Bakerwals.
However, Ram paid Raj Rs 1 lakh to be passed on to sub-inspector Dutta.
The investigation explained in detail how the accused police officials destroyed crucial evidence by washing the clothes of the victim before sending them to the forensic laboratory and created false evidence at the scene.
“In the course of investigation, it transpired that Ram was against the settlement of Bakherwals in Rassana, Kootah and Dhamyal area and always kept on motivating members of his community not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance to them,” the investigation said.
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