May 2018 News

'Fact-finding Team' Challenges Police Probe

4 May 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Vibha Sharma

New Delhi: A report on the rape and murder of a minor in Kathua by a 'fact-finding team of intellectuals and academicians' has raised questions on the veracity of the post-mortem reports and police investigation into the case. Demanding that the case be handed over to the CBI, the group on Friday said this 'will not only assuage the insecurities of the people of Jammu but also rectify blatant inconsistencies in the case as documented in the report'. 'The Government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to hear the voices of Jammu and not take steps that increase alienation of the population of Jammu,' said the report by the all-woman team comprising retired district Judge Meera Khadakkar, Supreme Court advocate Monika Arora, senior journalist Sarjana Shanna, Delhi University Assistant Professor Sonali Chitalkar and social activist Monicca Agarwaal. The group on Friday submitted the report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh. Jitendra later said the team had made certain observations. However, since the case was sub judice, talking about it in public 'will not be in the interest of anyone, including those trying to prove their innocence.' 'There can be no pardon for such cruel crimes. There should be strictest possible punishment for the perpetrators. At the same time, it is also our responsibility to see that if someone is innocent, he or she is given justice. I am sure the court will take cognisance of all this,' he added. Arora, meanwhile, said the team found many discrepancies in the police account. Accused appeal to SC: Two prime accused in the Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl on Friday urged the Supreme Court that the probe in the case should be handed over to the CBI so that justice could be meted out to the victim. They also opposed a plea seeking the transfer of trial to Chandigarh, said a PTI report. Questions raised by report: * The place where the police said the victim was kept for six days is not a temple but a 'Devisthan' frequented by people from three villages. Is it possible to keep a girl hidden there, that too in festive time? * Why were the investigating teams changed thrice within a span of l0 days? * Why are there discrepancies in the post-mortems done on January 17 and March 19? The first report states the presence of digested material in the intestine, whereas the second negates it * Why was the crime scene, the Devisthan, not sealed? * Why was the body not thrown somewhere in the deep forest or nullah but found just 100 metres behind the house of the main accused Sanjhi Ram? * Why was no evidence of urine or stool found in the Devisthan even when the post-mortem report states that the intestines were filled with digested material?