‘Happy little soul got justice’, says ex-cop who probed Kathua rape, murder
Former Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Ramesh Kumar Jalla who headed the probe into the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua last year said on Monday that he was happy that justice was delivered to the victim.
“I am happy that the little soul has got justice,” he said after a special court convicted six people of the crime.
Although the crime and the subsequent probe drove a wedge between the the PDP and the BJP which were then running a coalition government, Jalla said his team never faced any political pressure from either party during investigations.
Jalla who was a Senior Superintendent of Police in the crime branch, retired last month.
“I am already retired. Believe me, I never had any pressure from any quarter. Now that I am retired and nobody can damage me, let me say that there was no pressure whatsoever from any ministers or MLAs of the PDP or the BJP,” he said.
The former SSP who led the Special Investigation Team (SIT) said that they conducted a thoroughly professional investigation presented a detailed charge-sheet to the court.
“Attempts were being made to give it a communal colour but I was never under any pressure from serving or former ministers. The only pressure that we faced was from media when we used to see different reports in papers, which, to be very clear, we never bothered,” he said.
Jalla recalled that how the crime branch team was assaulted and initially prevented by the lawyers from presenting the charge-sheet to the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Kathua in April last year.
“Except this confrontation, we never had any confrontation with advocates, press or ministers,” he said.
Jalla, however, said that during the course of investigations his team did face some pressure from lower rung leaders.
“There was some pressure from lower rung leaders like panches coming to us in the guise of local BJP or PDP leaders. But none of the ministers, MLAs or any authoritative functionary of the BJP or the PDP intervened in our investigations,” he said and described it as normal.
Assistant SP Naveed Peerzada, woman officer Deputy SP Shwetambari Sharma, Sub Inspector Irfan Wani, Inspector KK Gupta and Assistant SI Tariq Ahmad were the other members of the SIT.
On January 23, 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir government assigned the investigation to the crime branch after Kathua police who had been bribed by one of the convicts, Sanji Ram tampered with evidence.
The SIT functioned also under supervision of Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) of Crime, Alok Puri and Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba.
“We worked against heavy odds. At times we were disappointed, particularly when we learned that even the men of Hiranagar Police Station had been bribed to hush up the case and they had washed away the young victim’s clothes to destroy material evidences. Yet we cracked this rape and murder mystery during the holy navrataras. I believe there was a divine intervention to bring the culprits to justice. I believe Durga Mata had her hand on our head,” DSP Shwetambari Sharma has said after the SIT filed the charge-sheet last year.