6 people convicted for rape and murder of 8-year-old Kathua girl

The District and Sessions court in Pathankot of Jammu and Kashmir, today, convicted six persons in 2018 Kathua rape and murder case.

Village head Sanji Ram, Anand Dutta, Parvesh Kumar two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma and Head constable Tilak Raj were convicted by the trial court in the gruesome case.

The girl, according to the police, the eight-year-old-girl had been kidnapped as part of a strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, had been overdosed with a cocktail of sedatives through her captivity and raped repeatedly. Four days later, she was strangled and bludgeoned with a stone to make sure she was dead.

The girl was kidnapped on 10 January 2018 and kept in captivity till 14 January when she was killed. Her body was found in a forested area near Kathua on January 17.

The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in the neighbouring state of Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.

The apex court order came after lawyers in Kathua prevented Crime Branch officials from filing a charge sheet in the sensational case, which shocked the nation. The prosecution team in the case comprised J K Chopra, SS Basra and Harminder Singh.

The Crime Branch arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma.

Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested.

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