JAMMU, Apr 11: The Crime Branch, which probed the brutal rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old ‘Bakerwal’ girl at village Rassana in Kathua in January this year, has recorded statements of 22 witnesses before a Judicial Magistrate.
A senior police official said today that the statements had been recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code before a Magistrate in which they gave details of the conspiracy hatched by Sanjhi Ram and others.
According to the laid down process, police approach a Magistrate with request for recording the statement of a witness. After his or her production, the Magistrate ensures that the statement is given according to the free will of the individual and the entire process is videographed.
In case, the witness, who has registered the statement, turns hostile during trial, police can press perjury charges against him or her.
“The statements did help us in our investigations and we are hopeful that the guilty will be punished,” a Crime Branch official said.
Two chargesheets were filed against eight accused under various Sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (equivalent of IPC) related to rape, illegal confinement, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy.
The accused are Sanjhi Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, head constable Tilak Raj, sub-inspector Anand Dutta, civilian Parvesh Kumar, and Sanjhi Ram’s minor nephew.
The Crime Branch has also proved that Ram’s son, Vishal had returned home from his college on January 12.
Vishal, who is pursuing B.Sc in Agriculture at a college in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, had returned to his village after he was informed by his relative, Shubam Sangra alias “Chuboo” about the kidnapping of the girl telephonically on January 11 and asked him to return in case “he wanted to satisfy his lust”, the charge sheet presented by the crime branch in the court said.
On January 12, the investigators said Vishal reached Rassana after which he raped the girl along with five others, besides helping in disposing of the body on January 17 after she was killed.
Many in the village had claimed that Vishal had appeared in an examination in Meerut and showed the attendance sheet allegedly bearing his signatures.
The Crime Branch sent the attendance sheet for forensic examination and it was found that the signatures had been forged.
“We identified three students but all were already in custody over some medical scam in one of the colleges in Meerut. We will take their custody later,” the official said.
In the charge sheet, the Crime Branch said “in the course of investigation, it transpired that the accused Vishal actively took part in the rape-and-murder of the victim, has tried to create an alibi by resorting to manipulation of records and creation of false evidence with the connivance and assistance of his father and relative Kishore, chairman of the college R P Singh and some other employees of a university in Meerut who as per the inputs have received huge amount as a kickback from Sanjhi Ram”.
It said the investigation also showed that on the following day, the juvenile was apprehended and taken to police station for questioning, Sanjhi Ram visited him and directed him not to disclose the involvement of his son and promised him that he would get him cleared from the charges at the earliest.