SPO held for kidnapping and rape

JAMMU, Feb 10: A special police officer (SPO) has been arrested by the Crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police for his alleged involvement in kidnapping and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district last month, police said today. The girl’s body was recovered from the Rassana forest on January 17, a week after she went missing while grazing horses. The issue had repeatedly rocked the state Assembly with opposition parties raising questions and demanding action against the culprits. On January 23, the Mehbooba Mufti government had ordered a probe in the kidnapping and killing of the girl and handed over the case to the crime branch of the state police. “We have arrested SPO Deepak Khajuria for his involvement in the case of kidnapping and killing of the minor girl,” Additional Director General of Crime Branch, Alok Puri said. “We are taking services of the forensic science department to investigate the alleged rape,” he said. With the arrest of the SPO, the number of arrests in the case has gone up to two. A special investigation team (SIT), constituted by the state police, had arrested a 15-year-old boy and claimed the accused had strangulated the victim after she resisted his rape attempt. The government ordered suspension of a station house officer on January 20. The government has also ordered a magisterial probe in the case.