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Kathua rape-murder case: Accused wanted to drive out Muslim tribe; cops took Rs 4 lakh to destroy crucial evidence, claims chargesheet

The chargesheet has said that the “general impression” among the Hindu community was that “Bhakherwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, Jammu [ Updated: April 18, 2018 11:30 IST ]

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The chargesheet filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in the Kathua abduction, rape and murder of a minor girl says that Sanji Ram, the mastermind, instigated his juvenile nephew and six others to execute the carefully planned strategy to remove the nomadic Muslim community of Bakherwals from the area. 

The 15-page chargesheet lists the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple, in Rassana village in Kathua, about 90 km from here, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.

Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram's nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias "Shamma".

The chargesheet also names investigating officers head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.

A separate chargesheet was filed on Tuesday on the role of the juvenile, who cannot be publicly named according to the law.

All eight are under arrest. Lawyers in Jammu today struck work in support of the accused.

Also Read: Kathua chargesheet: 8-year-old raped again before being bludgeoned to death

On January 11, six days before the child's body was recovered from the Rassana forest on January 17, the juvenile phoned his cousin Jangotra and asked him to return from Meerut where he was studying if he wanted to "satisfy his lust", the chargesheet stated.

Sanji Ram had been instigating members of the Hindu community of the area to not provide Bhakherwals land for grazing. 

The chargsheet has said that the “general impression” among the Hindu community was that “Bhakherwals indulge in cow slaughter” and “drug trafficking” which was “turning their children into drug addicts”.

As a result, Hindus had been “blaming the Bhakherwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them”, the chargesheet added. 

The chilling account of incident

The document lays bare the larger conspiracy to instil fear in the Bakherwal community and explains in chilling detail how it was carried out.

The eight-year-old had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses.

The day after their daughter went missing, the parents went to the Devisthan and asked Ram about her whereabouts. He said she may have gone to a relative's house.

According to the chargesheet, the accused gave the girl sedatives to make her unconscious while holding her in captivity at the ‘Devisthan'.

The juvenile, a school dropout, turned out to be the main player in the abduction and murder, raping the child repeatedly along with Jangotra and Khajuria.

The medical examination of the juvenile show he is an adult but the court is yet to take cognizance of the report, said an official.

"Khajuria lured the juvenile to kidnap the girl on the assurance that he will help him in passing the board examination (through cheating). Subsequently, he shared the plan, worked out by Ram and Khajuria, with Parvesh Kumar alias 'Mannu', his close friend and asked for his help in executing the plan," the chargesheet stated.

Jangotra reached Rassana from Meerut after his cousin's call and raped the sedated girl along with the juvenile and Mannu. Ram and his nephew performed the usual rituals to avoid suspicion.

It was on Ram's direction that the child was removed from the temple and taken to a culvert in the nearby forest by Mannu, Jangotra and the juvenile with the intention of eliminating her.

According to the investigation, Khajuria also reached the spot and told them to wait as "he wanted to rape her before she is killed". The chargesheet said the girl was once again gangraped and later killed by the juvenile.

"The juvenile hit the girl twice with a stone on her head and later dumped her body in the forest after their plan to throw the body in a canal could not materialize due to failure to arrange a vehicle," it said.

On January 23, about a week after the body was discovered, the government handed over the case to the Crime Branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team.

“… in the course of investigation, it transpired that somewhere in the first week of January, accused Sanji Ram decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rassana area which had been brewing in his mind for quite sometime, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and his nephew (juvenile) as part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually,” the chargesheet said.

Ram surrendered on March 20 after his son was arrested from Uttar Pradesh a day earlier.

Investigations revealed that Ram gave Rs 4 lakh to the police officers investigating the case in three instalments.

After the body was recovered, head constable Raj, who knew about the conspiracy, met Ram at his home and requested him to hand over one of the accused as things had gone out of control due to the agitation by the Bakerwals.

However, Ram paid Raj Rs 1 lakh to be passed on to sub-inspector Dutta.

The investigation explained in detail how the accused police officials destroyed crucial evidence by washing the clothes of the victim before sending them to the forensic laboratory and created false evidence at the scene.

"In the course of the investigation, it transpired that Ram was against the settlement of Bakherwals in Rassana, Kootah and Dhamyal area and always kept on motivating members of his community not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance to them," the investigation said.

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