Faced no pressure, says officer investigating Kathua rape

The Jammu and Kashmir police officer who investigated the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from Kathua said he never faced pressure from any “agency or politician” during the course of investigation. He said the team will soon file another chargesheet that may include a “new set of suspects.”

Ramesh Kumar Jalla, senior superintendent of police (crime branch), filed a chargesheet against eight accused, including a special officer, for the rape and murder, which highlighted the meticulous planning that went into committing the crime. Several lawyers in Kathua tried to prevent Mr. Jalla from filing the chargesheet at the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court on April 9, gheraoing the team for more than five hours.

Earlier on March 4, two BJP ministers, Lal Singh and Prakash Chander, had participated in a rally demanding the probe be transferred to CBI.

The case was handed over to the crime branch on January 22 after the victim’s family raised doubts over the investigations done by the local police. The victim went missing on January 10; a week later her body was found in a forest near her house.

“We took it as a routine case and did our work. Investigation is a continuous process, I cannot specify what led us to crack the case. All the issues were taken into right perspective,” Mr. Jalla told The Hindu over phone from Jammu.

Mr. Jalla, a 1994 batch officer of J&K cadre, has been heading the crime branch in Jammu since February 2017.

“I never faced pressure from any agency, lawyer or any politician, except on April 9 when we went to produce the challan (chargesheet) and they (lawyers) tried to obstruct us. Kathua police has filed a separate case for that....the accused were remorseful when we interrogated them,” he said.

Mr. Jalla said the motive of the crime was mentioned explicitly in the chargesheet and he would not like to say anything further as the matter was subjudice.

The chargesheet said, “Thus during investigation it has become abundantly clear that the accused had a reason to act against the Bakarwal community and hence the conspiracy ultimately resulting into the gruesome rape and brutal murder of an innocent budding flower, a child of only 8 years of age, who being a small kid became a soft target.”

The girl was confined in a temple, sedated and raped thrice before being suffocated and bludgeoned to death.

The chargesheet said Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the temple, was the main conspirator. He was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, his nephew who is a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra. Jangotra, studying in a college in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly travelled to Kathua to participate in the crime. Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took ₹4 lakh from Ram to destroy crucial evidence, have also been named in the chargesheet.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 4:05:29 PM |

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