Three out of the six convicted in the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, have been sentenced to life imprisonment, while three others will have to serve five years in jail for destroying evidence to shield the rapists.
Main accused and retired revenue department official Sanji Ram, special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Pathankot court.
Police officers Anand Dutta, Surender Verma and Tilak Raj will serve five years in prison under section 201 of the Ranbir Penal Code (as Jammu and Kashmir’s penal code is known) for destruction of evidence.
A Special Court in Pathankot of Punjab on earlier on Monday convicted six out of the seven in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua last year.
Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced the verdict in the open court.
Sanji Ram’s son Vishal, however, was acquitted in the case. Vishal is said to have been giving an exam in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district and was able to produce an alibi for the same.
The six accused were convicted under at least three sections including Ranbir Penal Codes’ Sections 201 (pertaining to the disappearance of evidence) and 120-B (pertaining to criminal conspiracy).
The in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3 following which District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced that the verdict would be delivered today.
Tight security was put in place near the district and sessions court in Pathankot for the verdict.
Public outcry had followed the abduction, rape and murder of a minor nomadic girl in Rasana village of Kathua district on January 10 last year.
Investigations by the state crime branch had led to the arrest of eight accused. The crime branch sleuths collected forensic evidence and other bits and pieces to nail the culprits.
The eight-year-old nomadic girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was 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 case.