SC asks govt to protect victim’s kin, lawyer; accused plead for narco test
THE Supreme Court does not favour handing over the investigation into the rape-and-murder of an eightyear-old girl in Kathua from the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police to the CBI as her father expressed satisfaction over the investigation carried out so far.
“In the absence of any allegation, why should we enter into this as to who should investigate,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra said, adding that it was “the primary duty of the state police to investigate a case”.
The father expressed satisfaction with the probe conducted so far by the state police, while vehemently opposing the plea of senior advocate Bhim Singh and Delhi-based lawyer Anuja Kapur that the investigation be transferred to the CBI.
The SC however, directed the Jammu and Kashmir government to provide security to the victim’s family, their lawyer and a family friend assisting them in prosecuting the case. “As an interim measure, it is directed that the J&K Police to beef up the security and provide adequate security personnel to the family, Deepika Singh Rajawat and family friend Talid Hussain,” the bench said.
It also sought response of the state government by April 27, the next date of hearing, to the specific prayer that the trial in the case be transferred out of Kathua court to Chandigarh in view of the communally surcharged atmosphere prevailing in Jammu town. The bench also directed the state police to provide adequate security to the juvenile delinquent, who has been picked up in the case at the observation home under the law. It said that it will only hear the persons related to the case.
Meanwhile in Kathua, seven of the eight accused were produced before District and Sessions Judge Sanjay Gupta, who asked the state Crime Branch to give them copies of the chargesheet and fixed April 28 as the next date of hearing. The juvenile accused moved a bail application before the chief judicial magistrate. The matter was posted for April 26.
Special police officer Deepak Khajuria, who is alleged to have repeatedly raped the child, told reporters from the police van that he was also demanding a narco test. As the trial began inside the court, main accused Sanji Ram’s daughter Madhu Sharma protested outside, demanding a CBI probe.
Meanwhile in the backdrop of the Unnao and Kathua rape cases, a group of retired civil servants has written to Prime Minister Modi holding him responsible for the “terrifying state of affairs”. Instead of owning up and making reparations, the PM chose to remain quiet, breaking his silence only when public outrage both in India and internationally reached a point when he could no longer ignore it, the 49 former bureaucrats have said.
Prime accused Sanji Ram (r) and the others being produced in the District Court in Kathua on Monday