Sealed envelope supposed to contain victim’s hair turns out empty in court

Pathankot, Jul 17: Strange scenes were witnessed inside the Pathankot district and session’s court, hearing the brutal rape and murder case of an eight-year-old nomadic girl of Rasana (Kathua), when the envelope containing hair of the victim, which was produced in the court by Special Investigating Team (SIT), turned out to be empty, well placed sources informed.
“The envelope with seven seals/stamps of the FSL, which conducted the DNA test of the victim’s hair, was opened in the court on judge’s order but there were no hairs inside the envelope,” sources said. The hair was collected by the SIT from Devsthan, where, as per the Crime Branch charge sheet, the victim was kept captive in sedated condition.
The PA of SIT member DySP Shwetambri Sharma was the witness when hair was collected from Devsthan.
The hair of the victim collected by the SIT from the Devsthan was sent to FSL for DNA test. The FSL after conducting the DNA test sent the hair in a sealed envelope back to SIT.
“This sealed envelope with seven stamps was produced in the court today,” sources said.
The PA of SIT member Shwetambri Sharma appeared in the court on Monday for recording his statement after which he was to be cross-examined by the defence lawyers, sources said.
“A yellow coloured envelope with seven seals/stamps of the FSL was produced in the court by SIT. The judge ordered to open the envelope. There were 4 small envelopes inside the large sized yellow envelope,” sources informed.
They added, “The three small envelopes turned out to be empty. Lastly, a plain white paper inside the yellow envelope was also unfolded which also turned out to be empty and no hair was seen inside the sealed envelope sent by FSL to SIT after conducting the DNA test”.
While talking to media persons outside the court after the day’s proceedings ended, defence lawyer AK Sawhney confirmed that the envelope, which was produced in the court by SIT, “turned out to be empty”.
“The envelope which was sent to SIT by FSL after conducting DNA test of victim’s hair, was produced in the court by SIT but it turned out to be empty,” Sawhney said.
“This is a cause of worry for the prosecution,” he said.
Following the unexpected development, the sources said, “The statement of the PA, the tenth witness, was not recorded. The prosecution sought time as to what went wrong, and that whether any wrong envelope was produced in the court”.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyers moved an application in the court demanding that they be informed in advance as to which witnesses are to be produced in the court out of the total 221 witnesses.
“We demanded from the court that defence be informed at least a day in advance about the witnesses to be produced in the court so that defence could also know that who are the witnesses they will cross-examine the next day, which is also in the interest of fair trial,” Sawhney told media persons outside the court.
The arguments over the demand of the defence will be taken up by the court on July 18, he said.