Kathua rape-murder case: Call records, bank account details expose police cover-up

The supplementary chargesheet reveals a spike in calls between some of the accused around the dates of the crime besides medical opinion about the effect of sedatives on an 8-year-old victim

Photo by Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo by Saqib Majeed/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ashutosh Sharma

Jammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch has almost completed its probe into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community in Kathua, establishing how the cops accused in the crime allowed a cover-up of the gruesome incident in lieu of money. The Crime Branch filed a supplementary charge sheet in the Pathankot court on Monday.

The girl went missing on January 10 and over the next week, she was drugged, starved, gangraped and then brutally murdered, according to chilling details in the chargesheet. Her battered body was spotted by villagers on January 17. The incident not only created fissures in the People’s Democratic Party-Bhartiya Janata Party state coalition government but also brought to the fore fault lines in state’s polity. The Supreme Court had transferred the trial of the case outside Jammu and Kashmir to Pathankot in Punjab in May.

National Herald has accessed the supplementary charge sheet which includes medical opinion about the effect of sedatives on the victim, asserting that that the child was continuously administered overdose of Clonazepam rendering her incapacitated to resist rape and murder. It also reveals the location of Vishal, son of Sanji Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the abduction and killing in January this year. Vishal had earlier claimed he had never visited Kathua.

The Crime Branch has arrested Ram, his son Vishal and his “juvenile” nephew, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias 'Dipu' and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu. All of them were named in the first charge sheet on April 9. It also arrested head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took ₹4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.

The apex court had earlier given the Crime Branch eight weeks to file supplementary charge sheet. Here are major takeaways from the charge sheet, that sums up the Crime Branch’s investigation in the case:

  • A perusal of account statement of Sanji Ram reveals that in the month of December 2017 and January 2018, the accused repeatedly withdrew money ranging from ₹40,000 to ₹1, 00,000 from his bank account on different dates. During investigation, it also transpired that during the period of withdrawal of money the accused had neither undertaken any constructional activity nor had he acquired any valuable asset nor any social function was solemnised in his family.
  • The scrutiny of the bank account maintained by accused Anand Dutta revealed that there is a downward trend in the withdrawals made during the months of January and February 2018, when compared to preceding months.
  • The bank account maintained and operated by accused Tilak Raj also revealed that there is a drop in the withdrawals made during the month of January 2018, when compared to preceding month as well the succeeding month.
  • On being re-examined Village Defence Committee members unequivocally deposed that at the time of their initial deposition they were called by the accused sub inspector Anand Dutta and directed to make a false statement before the investigating officer of the Crime Branch.
  • The detailed call data record analysis indicated a spike in the calls between the accused persons including Deepak Khajuria, Sanji Ram, Tilak Raj, Anand Dutta, Surinder and Vishal Jangotra, around important dates concerning the crime.
  • The Forensic Science Laboratory reports indicated that Vishal Jangotra, a student of BSc Agriculture at Aakansha College Miranpur, was not present in the examination centre on January 12 and 15 and resorted to manipulation of the attendance sheets and tried to create an alibi in order to save himself from the clutches of law.
  • Analysis of call details revealed that Vishal remained in constant touch with his family whenever he was in Uttar Pradesh. Pertinently, there are no calls between accused Vishal and his parents from January 12 to 17, which is unusual and vouches for his presence in Rasana on crucial dates concerning crime.
  • Analysis of data retrieved from the mobile phones used by Vishal revealed incriminating chat details, indicating he was deeply perturbed and as a result of his guilty conscience was apprehensive about his arrest well before the investigating agency had taken any step against him.

Notably, the Lok Sabha recently passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 that provides for death penalty as the maximum punishment in cases of rape of a child under 12 following an outcry over Kathua rape and murder case.

With PTI inputs

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