Jammu: Faced with a challenge to bring to book the culprits behind the Kathua rape-cum-murder of a minor girl, police reconstructed the scene of the crime to gather vital clues. The body of the eight-year-old nomad Bakherwal community girl was recovered from Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses in the forest area.
The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police filed two separate charge sheets against the eight accused persons including a juvenile held in the case. According to investigators, the girl was held captive inside a 'Devisthan', gangraped, kept without food and administered sedatives.
Her cause of death was asphyxia leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest, the investigations revealed. "In the course of investigation, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) members along with Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) experts and naib Tehsildar (executive magistrate) again visited the scene of occurrence and tried to reconstruct the scene of crime," according to the charge sheet.
It said a minute examination of these locations led to the recovery of various items including blood-stained wooden sticks and hair strand which were seized, packed and sealed by the magistrate.
The sealed packets containing the exhibits were sent to FSL for analysis and report. Besides, few hair strands recovered from 'Devisthan' and nearby forest where the body of the girl was dumped by the accused were forwarded to experts in Delhi for DNA profiling.
"On the basis of opinion furnished by the experts, one of the hair strands recovered from the Devisthan matched with the DNA profile of victim which confirmed that she was kept in captivity at Devisthan which is exclusively manned by the mastermind Sanji Ram to the exclusion of any other person of the area," the charge sheet read.
Similarly, the hair strand recovered from the place of recovery of the body matched with the DNA profile of the juvenile who raped the girl several times after abducting her, it said.
Accused police officials - Sub Inspector Anand Dutta and Head Constable Tilak Raj - failed in their efforts to destroy the evidence by washing the clothes worn by the deceased after receiving Rs 4 lakh from the mastermind, it said.
FSL Delhi with updated technology was able to confirm the presence of blood stains on the clothes of the victim which matched with her DNA profile, it further said, adding DNA profiling also established presence of victims blood on the vaginal smears.
"As per the report of medical experts, the victim was found prima facie raped before being killed," the police said.
The crime branch said the investigation also established that the victim was raped by more than one accused with common intention. "The medical opinion also established the fact that the victim had been kept without food and administered sedatives and her cause of death was asphyxia leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest," the charge sheet said.
During investigation, call details of mobile phones used by the accused persons were obtained from quarters concerned.
The CDRs obtained have prima facie established the individual and common locations of all the accused in and around the scene of crime on crucial dates of occurrence.
The analysis of CDRs of accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer who raped the girl shortly before she was killed and her body dumped, revealed that he had remained in constant touch with his associate Surinder Kumar from the date of kidnapping of the victim," the charge sheet said.
"This necessitated the questioning of SPO Kumar who was summoned and questioned but he could not give any plausible and tangible explanation regarding his telephonic conversation with Khajuria and sudden spike in their frequency despite of the fact that Khajuria had disclosed that he had sent Kumar to ascertain the movement of Bakherwals in and around Devisthan on January 14 and also to inform him regarding the condition of victim who then was held in captivity in Devisthan.
"In response to which, Kumar visited the Devisthan and conveyed to him regarding the movement of Bakherwals and condition of the victim. Besides some of the witnesses examined corroborated regarding the movement and presence of Kumar in and around Devisthan," it said.
The charge sheet said Kumar was accordingly arrested and is at present in judicial custody. "Further investigation in respect of his involvement in the case is being conducted which may include his narco-analysis for which his consent has already been obtained," it said.
In the course of investigation, it said the statements of more than 130 witnesses were recorded.
"All the witnesses examined have unequivocally corroborated the facts that emerge in the course of investigation. The statements of all these witnesses form part of the challan (charge sheet)."