Kathua chargesheet reveals chilling details of how 8-year-old was raped, bludgeoned
The eight-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by six men in Jammu’s Kathua district was kept sedated and sexually assaulted once again before being bludgeoned to death, reveals the chargesheet filed in the case. The accused had held her in captivity in a small village temple for a week in January.
The abduction, rape and killing of the Bakherwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, reveals the 15-page chargesheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Crime Branch in the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Jammu on Monday.
It lists the caretaker of Devisthan, the small temple in Rassana village in Kathua, where the incident took place, as the main conspirator. Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, a juvenile, and Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra alias Shamma.
The chargesheet also names investigating officers — head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta — who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. A separate chargesheet was filed on Tuesday on the role of the juvenile, who cannot be publicly named according to law.
All eight are under arrest. Lawyers in Jammu on Wednesday struck work in support of the accused.
How the crime unfolded
On January 11, six days before the child’s body was recovered from the Rassana forest, the juvenile phoned his cousin Jangotra and asked him to return from Meerut where he was studying if he wanted to “satisfy his lust”, the chargesheet stated.
The eight-year-old had gone missing on January 10 while grazing horses in the forest. Investigators said the accused abducted the girl on the pretext of helping her find her horses. The day after, parents of the girl went to Devisthan and asked Ram about her whereabouts. He said she may have gone to a relative’s house.
The juvenile, a school dropout, turned out to be a major player in the abduction and murder, raping the child repeatedly along with Jangotra and Khajuria.
“Khajuria lured the juvenile to kidnap the girl on the assurance that he will help him in passing the board examination (through cheating). Subsequently, he shared the plan, worked out by Ram and Khajuria, with Parvesh, and asked for his help in executing the plan,” the chargesheet stated.
Jangotra reached Rassana from Meerut after his cousin’s call and raped the sedated girl along with the juvenile and Mannu. Ram and his nephew performed the usual rituals to avoid suspicion. It was on Ram’s direction that the child was removed from the temple and taken to a a culvert in the nearby forest by Mannu, Jangotra and the juvenile with the intention of eliminating her.
According to investigation, Khajuria also reached the spot and told them to wait as “he wanted to rape her before she is killed”. The chargesheet said the girl was once again gangraped and later killed by the juvenile.
“The juvenile hit the girl twice with a stone on her head and later dumped her body in the forest after their plan to throw the body in a canal could not materialise due to failure to arrange a vehicle,” it said.
On January 23, about a week after the body was discovered, the government handed over the case to the Crime Branch, which formed a Special Investigation Team.
“... in the course of investigation, it transpired that somewhere in the first week of January, accused Sanji Ram decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakherwal community from Rassana, which had been brewing in his mind for quite sometime, into operation and in pursuance to that, he made accused Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and his nephew (juvenile) part of the conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually,” the chargesheet said.
Ram surrendered on March 20 after his son was arrested from Uttar Pradesh a day earlier. Investigations revealed that Ram gave Rs 4 lakh to the police officers investigating the case in three installments.
After the body was recovered, head constable Raj, who knew about the conspiracy, met Ram at his home and requested him to hand over one of the accused as things had gone out of control due to agitation by the Bakherwals. However, Ram paid Raj Rs 1 lakh to be passed on to sub-inspector Dutta.
The investigation explained in detail how the accused police officials destroyed crucial evidence by washing the clothes of the victim before sending them to the forensic laboratory and created false evidence at the scene.