Kathua: SC says no to CBI-inquiry, transfers trial to Pathankot
After much hue and cry, the SC has transferred the Kathua gangrape-murder case to a Pathankot court, also ruling out a CBI inquiry. The victim's family had been demanding the shift alleging threats to their own as well as their lawyer's life in J&K. The SC has asked the J&K government, which opposed shifting of the case, to ensure security for the petitioners.
The case that shook the nation
The gangrape of an eight-year-old in Kathua had gained attention for its brutality, but also because of its political ramifications. The victim, a Muslim Bakarwal, was allegedly raped by a group of Hindu men for days before she was murdered. The accused have pleaded not guilty and claimed they are being framed. Controversial protest rallies were also organized in their support.
Why did the victim's family want case shifted out?
As the case developed, the victim's lawyer, Deepika Singh Rajawat, claimed the J&K High Court Bar Association had warned her against representing the family and threatened they will stop her. But the Association categorically denied it. It also denied they had stopped local police from filing a chargesheet in the case. The media had 'misreported' developments, it claimed.
And why did the accused demand a CBI probe?
The main accused, Sanji Ram, sent an affidavit to the SC demanding a CBI probe, claiming tainted officers were a part of the SIT investigating the case. He alleged he was framed because of police's biases. Opposing shifting of the case to Chandigarh, Ram claimed it would be 'impossible' for 221 prosecution witnesses to travel almost 265km from Kathua for the hearing.
Pathankot court to hold day-to-day hearings
The SC has now decided that the case will be heard in Pathankot, and that day-to-day hearings will be held. Proceedings will also be held in-camera. For now, CBI won't be involved. The court will next hear the case on July 9.