All accused plead not guilty, ask for narco test

Jammu, Apr 16: The trial in the gruesome Kathua rape and murder case began on Monday against eight accused.
All the accused have pleaded not guilty and asked the district and session judge for narco test.
The court has directed that charge sheet copies should be provided to all accused.
The next date of hearing is fixed at April 28.
The Juvenile arrested in Kathua case has moved bail application before the judicial magistrate.
“Everything will be clear after Narco test,” said one of the accused after hearing at the district court.
Meanwhile today alleged accused namely Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu, S/O Updesh Khajuria, R/O Dhamiyal, Hiranagar; Surinder Kumar S/O Sain Das R/O Satura, Hiranagar, Parvesh Kumar @ Mannu, S/O Ashok Kumar, R/O Village Rassana, Hiranagar; Vishal Jangotra @ Shamma, S/O Sanji Ram, R/O Rassana, Hiranagar; Sanji Ram, S/O Des Raj, R/O Village Rassana, Hiranagar; Tilak Raj, S/O Amir Chand, R/O Dhamiyal, Hiranagar. and Anand Dutta, S/O Shanti Swaroop Dutta, R/O Village Dharmal, PO Muthi, District Jammu were present before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge Kathua.
Advocate AK Sawhney with Advocate Aseem Sawhney filed Vakaltnama for the alleged accused namely Tilak Raj.
During the proceeding, accused Sanji Ram verbally submitted before the Court that they are ready for Narco Test, as they are innocent.
Principal Sessions Judge Kathua, Sanjeev Gupta observed that Chief Prosecuting Officers Bhupinder Singh and Harminder Singh have appeared on behalf of the State and submitted that they have been appointed as Special Public Prosecutors by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir for the prosecution of the case, however, they seek some time for producing a formal order issued by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir in this regard. The prayer is accepted with the direction that they shall produce the formal order issued by the State of Jammu & Kashmir appointing them as Special Public Prosecutors in this case on or before the next date.
The Court further observed that Advocate AK Sawhney & Advocate Aseem Sawhney, representing Tilak Raj have filed another application for providing complete copy of the challan alongwith documents annexed therein on the ground that the challan was presented at the residence of learned committal Magistrate on 09.04.2018, but the copy of the challan and documents annexed therein were not furnished to the said accused. It is submitted that in order to prevent miscarriage of justice, prosecution be directed to supply copy of the challan alongwith annexures/documents annexed therein to the accused. At this stage, rest of the accused present in the court also submitted that they were not provided with the copy of challan as well as annexures and same may be provided to them.
Principal Sessions Judge Kathua Sanjeev Gupta observed that in the committal order passed by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua, on 09.04.2018, it has been mentioned that copies of the challan alongwith annexures enclosed therewith were furnished to the accused, when the challan was presented before him at his residence.
Court further observed that be that it may be, the Special Public Prosecutors undertake to supply copy of the charge-sheet alongwith all the annexures/documents/ statements of witnesses recorded u/s 161 and 164-A CrPC and all other report/s annexed with the charge-sheet to the accused by 4.30 PM tomorrow, regarding which the counsel for accused Tilak Raj and rest of the accused have no objection. Special Public Prosecutors shall ensure supply of copy of the charge-sheet alongwith all annexures to the accused in the District Jail, Kathua, by 4.30 PM tomorrow.
Upon this Court fixed April 28, 2018 next date of hearing for arguments on charge.
Daughter of Sanji Ram, one of the accused in the case, has alleged a conspiracy and said, “this is not a case of rape, but this is murder and we demand a CBI investigation in the case”.
The accused allegedly held an eight-year-old girl in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district for a week in January this year during which she was allegedly kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has appointed two special public prosecutors, both Sikhs, for the trial in the sensitive case, a move being seen as made to ensure “neutrality” in view of Hindu-Muslim polarisation over the case.
The trial is expected to go smoothly after the Jammu Bar association as well as the Kathua Bar received a rap on the knuckles by the Supreme Court on April 13 as the apex court took a strong note of some lawyers obstructing the judicial process in the case.
The father of the girl brutally gang-raped and murdered in Kathua has approached the Supreme Court seeking the transfer of the case outside Jammu and Kashmir.
The father of the victim has sought safety and security even as the trial began in Kathua today. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the plea at pm today.
Apart from the father’s plea, another petition was filed by family’s woman lawyer. In her plea, lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat, representing victim’s family, alleges threat to her life in pursuing the case in Kathua court. (With JNF inputs)