Flaws in the Chargesheet of Kathua Rape and Murder Case – Part 1

At the outset, it is being explicitly stated that the aim of this series of articles is not to trivialize the rape and death of an 8 year old. The perpetrators of this heinous crime should be brought to justice and the severest punishment inflicted on them and those that aided and abetted them. All we ask for through this series of article is a proper CBI investigation to resolve the mysteries, which can also be seen from the flaws in the  chargesheet  filed by Jammu and Kashmir Police, surrounding the case.

However given the religious angle surrounding the case and the fact that political efforts are being taken to engineer a demographic change in largely hindu Jammu, we have to scrutinize the chargesheet, the motives of the investigating agencies, officials and their religious and political biases. It does not need much to convince oneself that Hindus of Jammu will get the rough end of the stick if one looks at it from a political and communal angle. Thus this case should be thoroughly examined so that the criminals are properly identified and given the punishment they deserve without making it a political and communal issue.

The entire chargesheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir Police on the Kathua rape and murder case can be found here.

Page 3

“During investigation conducted by P/S Hiranagar one individual namely Shubam Sangra S/O Om Prakash R/O Hiranagar, Ward No. 10, A/P Rasana, residing with his maternal uncle Sanji Ram in village Rasana, was taken to police station Hiranagar for questioning. During questioning he divulged that his father is working as a peon in Hr. Sec. School Chagral and his mother is a housewife.”

It is not clear from the chargesheet (in the absence of supplementary material) how the investigating officer even arrived at Shubam Sangra as a possible suspect.

Page 4

The whole page describes the confession of the Juvenile to the investigating officer. The following issues crop up:

  1. The presence of any officer connected to Juvenile Justice Board or similar organization is not mentioned.
  2. Absolutely no motive for the Juvenile to voluntarily confess when he would be aware of the consequences.
  3. This confession is claimed to be false by the Kashmir crime branch at a later stage – implicating Sanji Ram and a few other adults as perpetrators of the rape and murder.

Page 5

“Accordingly said JCL S/o Om Prakash Sangra R/o Ward No.10 Hiranagar was arrested in the above said case on 19.01.2018 by the Police Station Hiranagar. On the basis of the confessional statement of the accused a stone, weighing around 1 kg, used by him to hit the deceased girl was recovered and seized. He was subsequently produced before the Ld. Chief Judicial Magistrate Kathua who ordered him to be sent to juvenile home.”

Considering this was done – no mention of presence of the victims blood on the stone or the juvenile’s skin or other tissue on the stone is made. Also no mention of any bodily fluids on the victim that belong to the juvenile is made.

Page 6

“Subsequently, in pursuance to PHQ Order No 374 of 2018 Dated 22-01-2018, the investigation of above referred case was transferred to Crime Branch and Crime Headquarters J&K vide Order issued under endorsement No CHQ/FIR/10/18-Hiranagar1083-92 Dated 23-01-2018, constituted a team of officers/officials headed by Shri Naveed Peerzada, ASP Crime Branch, Kashmir for carrying out further investigation of the case. However, the case dairy 􀁷le was formally handed over to Crime Branch Jammu by Shri Adil Hamid Ganai, ASP Samba, Incharge of earlier SIT constituted by IGP Jammu Zone on 27-10-2018 at 19.00 hrs in person at Crime Branch, Jammu.”

It is not clear why such a relatively simple case was handed over to the crime branch – nothing to substantiate this is present in the chargesheet. However malfeasance by local police is conclusively proven (conveniently) after CB steps in.

“In the course of investigation conducted by the Crime Branch the Ld. CJM was requested to handover the custody of Shubam Sangra for questioning. The examination of the juvenile was carried out in the presence of a social worker and his father. On the basis of the inputs provided by the Juvenile and other accused who were arrested and questioned in custody and the evidence collected in the course of investigation it transpired that somewhere in the 􀁷rst week of January, accused Sanji Ram decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakarwal Community from Rasana area, which had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, an SPO in Police Department and JCL as part of conspiracy and assigned them tasks separately and individually.”

 Who were the other accused? Were they also interrogated when the Juvenile was first interrogated? How did the crime branch arrive at a new theory of the said crime? on what basis on what evidence? Nothing to support this is found in the chargesheet – even by way of reference.

Page 7

“had a psychiatric problem and is under treatment with Dr. Mukul at Kathua. Although the medicine as per the prescription was not available with Bitu he gave him Epitril 0.05 mg instead of the medicine written on the prescription. On 4th January, 2018 accused Sanji Ram Maternal uncle of JCL provoked and induced said JCL to take revenge from the Bakarwals who had earlier beaten him.”

Epitril (Clonazepam) is not available in 0.05 mg – only 0.5 mg is available. The human body also has a large tolerance for this drug. Thus it cannot be said with certainty that victim would fall unconscious upon ingestion of 2 or 3 tablets. Also it is quite possible that CNS depression and respiratory distress may result with 2 or 3 tablets also. Different people might react differently.

“Subsequently, JCL shared the entire plan worked out by Sanji Ram and Deepak Khajuria with Parvesh Kumar @Mannu, his close friend and asked for his help and assistance in executing the plan on ground. The investigation further revealed that accused Sanji Ram had directed the JCL to execute the plan of kidnapping and to give some intoxicant to the girl and thereafter confine her at Devisthan in the first instance. On 9th of January, 2018, JCL along with another accused Parvesh Kumar @Mannu went to Hiranagar and purchased 04 Manars from Rampal’s shop, situated near auto stand Hiranagar, out of which one was consumed by him and kept other 3 in his pocket and returned back to Rasana.”

The real question is why was the JCL so willing to confess all this the second time around and not during the first interrogation. Somehow, this confession seems to fit the bill that the JCL was coached the first time to shield the adult perpetrators of the crime. The chargesheet again does not reveal any additional evidence or pointers that led to this second theory of the crime.

It is not clear what a Manar is – if it is an intoxicant or a narcotic like Opium, it can definitely worsen the effects of Epitril and push the victim dangerously close to fatality.

Page 8

“Accused Mannu held her legs and the JCL administered Manars’ one by one forcibly to the victim. The victim fell unconscious and was raped by JCL. Thereafter, Mannu also attempted to rape her but could not do it. Later on,they took the girl and kept her inside Devisthan under the table over two Chatayees(plastic Mats) and then covered her with two Darees (cotton thread Mats).”

The wise CB still does not offer any evidence (even logical) as to why the perpetrators would choose a temple to hold the victim – which registers way more footfalls than a cattle shed belonging to one of the perpetrators which is essentially private property. The CB also has zero explanation or evidence for how the temple was allowed to be closed for so many days to the general public of the area.

“Thereafter, both JCL and accused Mannu left Devisthan after locking it. On the next day, parents of Asifa reached Devisthan and enquired from accused Sanji Ram about the whereabouts of her missing daughter and in reply the accused Sanji Ram told her that she will be back as she might have gone to some relative’s house. At 12:00 noon the accused Deepak Khajuria @Deepu came near the house of accused Sanji Ram and signaled JCL, who took keys of Devisthan and both of them left for Devisthan as per the plan. Both of them reached Devisthan, opened the lock and accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu directed JCL to fetch water from a tap outside Devisthan.”

No explanation for why the victims parents would only ask Sanji Ram and no one else and why Sanji Ram would offer such a dimwitted reply to the parents query which is likely to arouse suspicion – how can a random stranger know where their daughter might have gone?

Page 9

“Thereafter,accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu took out a strip of sedatives containing ten (10) tablets. While the JCL lifted the head of the girl the accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu opened her mouth, put two tablets out of the strip in her mouth and made her to drink water and rubbed her throat with his fingers. Then accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu left from Devisthan and the JCL locked the door and hid the strip under a heap of dry grass,nearby. In the evening at about 5.00 p.m. the JCL went to Devisthan for lighting Jyotand checked the girl againand found her unconscious.Thereafter, on 11th January JCL informed another accused Vishal Jangotra @ Shamma about the kidnapping of the girl telephonically and asked him to return from Meerat in case he wanted to satisfy his lust.”

Several problems in this section. What is the motive for feeding an unconscious girl – Epitril tablets? The tablets would only cause more sedation. What was the need to hide the tablet strip? It does not make any sense. As for the last part – unless the CB  has a recording of this phone conversation, how can it even be part of a chargesheet? and If they do possess the recording – on what basis was the lines tapped for the recording?

“On 12th of January,2018 accused Vishal Jangotra @ Shamma reached Rasana from Meerut at 06:00 a.m. JCL narrated full details to Vishal about kidnapping and confinement of the girl in Devisthan. At about 8:30 a.m. the JCLagain went to Devisthan and administered 3 sedative tablets to the girl while she was unconscious with empty stomach.On the same day the Police party along with Bakarwals started search of the missing girl and accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu came to the house of accused Sanji Ram with another police official namely Iftikar Wani. The accused Deepak Khajuria @ Deepu asked for water and at the same time advised the juvenile to ensure administering of sedatives to the victim in time. During investigation it transpired that accused Sanji Ram had already taken the accused police officials into confidence and settled the deal with them to take care of the things which would ensue in the process of culmination of the conspired plan. In pursuance of the settled deal accused HC Tilak Raj, who was also accompanying the search party”

Does the CB have corroborating evidence or they are relying on the JCL testimony alone? In which case they have failed to disprove the JCL’s earlier confession made to the police. Why is the second version true and the first false? because it implicates adults and Hindus and brings a temple into the picture?

Page 10

“During investigation it has been found that on 12th of January JD Shuboo’s mother, Tripta Devi, reached accused Sanji Ram’s residence at Rasana. It has been found that the accused Sanji Ram narrated JCL’s involvement in kidnapping and confinement of the girl to the JCL’s mother. Further that accused Sanji Ram gave his sister (i.e. JCL’s mother) a packet containing Rs. 1.5 lacs with the direction to hand over the same to accused HC Tilak Raj as accused Sanji Ram had to attend some work. It has been found during investigation that JCL’s mother was a close friend of accused HC Tilk Raj as both were classmates in Govt. Primary School at Damiyal. The money was subsequently handed over to accuse Tilak Raj by Tripta Devi.”

Why would Sanji Ram tell more and more people about his misdeeds? Considering the amount of cash that is supposed to have changed hands – where was the withdrawals made from – does the CB have records? How did these large transactions not raise any red flags with the banks. If no withdrawals were made – then how was the money arranged. As in earlier points there is zero evidence offered. The whole chargesheet reads like a crime novel rife with speculation.

As we can see from the above hypothesis, the chargesheet is filled with flaws and lacks any proper evidence to hold the accused as guilty. We have touched upon only a few points in this article. We shall be continuing this series with several more articles – each presenting our views on where the report seems to have erred, why the case has lots of holes and why many people including us feel that only a CBI investigation of the case will resolve all the mysteries surrounding the case and help in identifying the criminals who should be given a strict punishment for indulging in a such a heinous crime.

(Note: The page numbers cited above are from the downloaded PDF copy of the chargesheet as given in the link. The exact location of the contents in the document may vary slightly)

(Disclaimer: This article represents the opinions of the Author, and the Author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content. HinduPost will not be responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information, contained herein.)


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About the Author

Paanchajanya
Yato dharmas tato jayah... Tweets at @paanchajanyaa
  • Bharathi Suta

    As regards the first point you raise about why Shubham Sangra was picked up in the first place, I think answer is the second point in Shri Kumar’s post. The body was found in a spot that pointed squarely at Sanji Ram, and so all members of that household were naturally the first to be questioned. The more I think about it, the more Shri Kumar’s point makes sense. Is Sanji Ram so stupid that he will, after doing a very intricate plan, put the body outside his house so that he become primary suspect?

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