In a damning expose of the controversial Crime Branch (CB) chargesheet in the Kathua case, new evidence in the form of CCTV footage from an SBI ATM in Meerapur, Muzaffarnagar has been obtained by Zee News. The footage clearly shows Vishal Jangotra– -one of the accused, and the son of the prime accused Sanji Ram– -at the ATM withdrawing money and interacting with some other boys who appear to be his friends.
The timing of the footage is 15th January, 2018, around 3 PM (3:03 to 3:07 to be precise). The chargesheet claims that Vishal was in Jammu, disposing off the body of the Kanjak, at this very time. Furthermore, the chargesheet claims that they corroborated this with the call detail records of the accused, which placed him in Kathua as per their claims (these CDRs were not submitted along with the chargesheet, raising some eyebrows earlier too).
So it would seem now that either the CB was wrong/sloppy in this claim, or they were deliberately buttressing their chargesheet with false pointers to CDRs which did not corroborate their claim. Either way, this is very damning.
The Zee News report also obtains testimony from the landlords who rented a room to Vishal, saying that he was definitely present there during the entire period of 9 Jan to 16 Jan. In particular, on 14th Jan, which was the birthday of the mother in the landlord’s family, Vishal was personally invited to attend the celebration, to which he agreed. This was attested to by a little boy who actually spoke with Vishal on the 14th, asking him to come to the celebration of “Dadiji” (grandmother).
At this point, the weight of the evidence seems to conclusively shift to the following:
- Vishal Jangotra was NOT present in Jammu in the 15th of Jan (based on CCTV footage)
- Vishal Jangotra was most likely not in Jammu on the 14th either, and quite likely never left
Meerut if his landlord’s testimony is correct.
Till this stage, I confess I thought that Sanji Ram and Vishal might have been involved. But at this time, there is too much doubt on the involvement of Vishal. If the chargesheet got that wrong, and made up detailed stories about how he helped in disposing the body on the 15th when CCTV shows he wasn’t even in Jammu, then what is its credibility?
Also, the CB appears to be guilty of embellishment (saying CDRs support their claims when they possibly could not) so it would seem that the argument for asking for a fresh CBI inquiry is getting too weighty to ignore.
I would be surprised at this stage if on May 7th, the Supreme Court, especially in light of this new CCTV footage, did not ask for a CBI inquiry.
May the truth come out, and may the Kanjak get justice. I must say I am very disappointed at the CB. This was a very serious case. Were they too eager to get a conviction that they falsified and embellished their chargesheet this way? Whatever it was, such major holes in the chargesheet need investigation of the CB-SIT itself.
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