‘Sound’ probe done , further probe on: J&K to SC

NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir Government today told the Supreme Court that a detailed charge sheet was filed after conducting a “sound” probe in the Kathua gangrape and murder case and further investigation was going on at a “rapid pace”.
The state government urged a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which transferred the trial from Kathua to Pathankot in Punjab, that they should be permitted to appoint a special public prosecutor to conduct the trial, which was accepted.
The state said it would continue to provide proper security to the victim’s family, their lawyers and the accused as well.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the state, said the investigation was conducted by the crime branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police in a “record time” and being the state, they know that they have to be responsible and conduct a fair probe and ensure fair trial in the case.
Referring to a report given by the District and Sessions Judge of Kathua district court to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, he said it showed that attempts were made to interfere in the process of filing of charge sheet by the police at the court there.
Subramanium, who was assisted by state’s advocate general Jahangir Iqbal Ganai and standing counsel Shoeb Alam, said the case has been committed to the court of district and session judge after filing of the charge sheet before the magistrate, but they were opposing the transfer of case outside the state.
“We would like a fair trial to take place. Further investigation is going on at a rapid pace,” he said, adding that since the time the apex court had taken cognisance of the matter, everybody has taken a position that they do not want any interference in the administration of justice.
“We undertake to give protection to all the counsel in the case. The investigation conducted was sound one and it was done in record time,” he said and suggested that the trial could be transferred to Jammu, Sambha, Udhampur or Ramban.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for victim’s father, opposed the suggestion to transfer the trial to Jammu, Sambha, Udhampur but said they were agreed to transfer of case to Ramban.
When the counsel appearing for accused raised objection on transfer of trial to Ramban, the name of district Reasi also cropped up.
Later, Ganai said the trial could be transferred to adjoining districts like Poonch, Rajouri and Doda.
However, after much deliberations, the parties agreed to the transfer of the trial to Pathankot in Punjab and the court ordered accordingly.
Subramanium said that arrangements to be made by the state would be done and they would ensure transportation of the accused, advocates and victim’s family members and other necessary facilities, including food.
“The State of Jammu and Kashmir shall provide requisite number of interpreters as directed by the District and Sessions Judge, Pathankot, so that the deposition of the witnesses can be properly recorded and translated copies thereof can be provided to the accused persons,” the bench said.
The bench further said “The accused persons shall also be similarly treated so that they do not feel that solely because they are accused persons, they are presumed to be guilty, for it is the settled principle that they are innocent till they are found guilty.”
It granted liberty to the state to appoint a public prosecutor to conduct trial and said that “the juvenile, who is facing the trial, shall be dealt with in accordance with law and he should be given all special care and protection as per the command of the law.”
The court’s order came on a plea filed by the victim’s father seeking transfer of the case out of Kathua.
The victim, an eight-year-old girl from a minority nomadic community, had disappeared from near her home in a village close to Kathua in the Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later.
The state police’s Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district. (Agencies)