Representative image. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The alleged juvenile offender detained in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua was produced before a Kathua magisterial court in a veil amid tight security to be given the copies of the Crime Branch charge sheet against him and other prosecution documents. Chief Judicial Magistrate A S Langeh asked the juvenile if he got the copies of the charge sheet and other documents, to which he replied in affirmative, following which his case was slated for next hearing on May 7.
CJM Langeh had dismissed his bail plea on Tuesday. The counsel for the underage accused had moved the court for his bail last week, soon after the Crime Branch had filed its separate charge sheet against him on April 10, a day after filing one against the seven other adult accused in the case. The juvenile had sought the bail on the ground of being underage, but CJM had rejected his plea on various grounds.
According to the Crime Branch charge sheet, he had allegedly played a key role in the abduction, rape and gruesome murder of the girl. The other accused arrested in the case include local resident Sanji Ram, his son Vishal Sharma and two special police officers. A police sub-inspector and a head constable too have been apprehended in the case on charges of destroying crucial evidence in the case to save the culprits after taking the bribe from them. The body of the girl was recovered from a forest on January 17, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had handed over the case to the Crime Branch, which had formed a special investigation team to probe the rape-cum-murder. The crime branch subsequently filed two separate charge sheets in the case – one of the seven adult accused on April 9 and the second against the juvenile accused on April 10.
Though the Crime Branch has filed a separate charge-sheet against the juvenile accused, it had claimed in its earlier charge-sheet for the adult accused that a medical examination had found him to be an adult of around 19 years of age. The court, however, had earlier rejected the claim.
According to the charge sheet against the underage accused, a school dropout, had lured the girl to a desolate place on the false pretext of helping her in finding her missing horses, held her captive at a ‘devisthan’ where she was drugged and allegedly raped by him, Vishal and SPO on different occasions before being brutally killed.