Kathua rape and murder case verdict: The special court has convicted six out of seven accused in the case including mastermind Sanjhi Ram and police officer Deepak Khajuria.
The verdict in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir has been delivered by a special court on Monday.
Over 1,000 policemen and security personnel have been deployed in and around the Pathankot court, where the trial was shifted given the highly sensitive nature of the case.
The in-camera trial in the case that shook the nation ended on June 3, when district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh had announced that the verdict was likely to be delivered on June 10.
Here are the LIVE updates:
12:00 pm: The quantum of sentence in the case against the six convicted people will be announced at 2 pm.
11:56 am: 6 out 7 accused including mastermind Sanjhi Ram, special police officer Deepak Khajuria, Surender Verma, Tilak Raj, and Anand Dutta. Only Sanjhi Ram’s son has been speared.
11:45 am: Sources inside the courtroom indicate that five accused have been convicted for raping and killing the minor girl. The judge is currently reading out the rest of the verdict. The seven accused are Sanjhi Ram, his son Vishal, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta.
11:41 am: The judge has started reading the verdict in the case. The verdict to decided the fate of the 7 accused will be out shortly.
11:33 am: Mother of the Kathua girl told India Today TV that she wants the perpetrators hanged. “We want justice. We want them to hang. It has been so long they haven’t been punished even now,” he said.
11.18 am: Advocate Ankur Sharma, who appeared for one of the accused, says he expects an acquittal.
11.06 am: Seven accused inside the courtroom.
10.38 am: All seven accused reach Pathankot court. Proceedings to begin shortly.
10.24 am: Elaborate security arrangements have been made in and around the court and in Kathua in view of the pronouncement of the judgement. The situation will be monitored closely, officials have said.
10.15 am: In-camera trial ended on June 3 and district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh said the verdict will be delivered on June 10.
The eight-year-old nomadic girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.
The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in Punjab 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 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.
Charges of rape and murder were framed by the district and sessions judge against seven out of the eight accused. The trial against the juvenile is yet to begin as his petition on determining his age is to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The court framed charges under the Ranbir Penal Code(RPC), including Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang-rape), according to the prosecution. The accused, if convicted, face minimum life imprisonment and maximum death penalty.
The case had become a bone of contention between the then ruling alliance partners PDP and the BJP after two ministers of the saffron party, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, participated in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the accused arrested by the state crime branch.