One of the main accused Sanji Ram (Source: PTI)
Throwing light on the Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, investigators on Friday said that one of the main accused, Sanji Ram, told them that he learnt about the rape four days after she was kidnapped and decided to kill her because his son was involved in the sexual assault.
The girl was kidnapped on January 10 and was first raped the same day by Ram’s nephew, who is a juvenile and was killed on January 14.
The victim’s body was found on January 17 in a forest.
Along with the juvenile, Ram and his son Vishal and five others have been charged in the heinous case, which has forced a nationwide protest that led to the government promulgating an ordinance mandating death sentence for the rape of minors aged 12 or below.
The investigators informed a leading press agency that muslim minor from the Bakarwal community was kept in a ‘devisthan’, a small temple.
The aim of the kidnapping was to scare and drive away the Gujjar and Bakarwal communities from the Hindu dominated area, they said.
Ram’s lawyer Ankur Sharma refused to comment on the matter, saying it would not be viable for him to discuss defence strategy.
'At least the defence lawyer should not be commenting on the merits of the case. It is like leaking your strategy as a defence lawyer,' he told a leading press agency.
Sanjhi claims that he found out about the rape only on January 13 after his nephew confessed to him, as per the investigators.
He told the investigators that he asked his nephew to take prasad home after he had performed prayers at the temple
But the nephew delayed it and in anger Ram beat him up, however the juvenile thought that his uncle had found out that he had raped the girl and told him about the assault, the investigators said.
It was after the confession when Ram decided to kill the girl so to achieve the goal of scaring away the nomads, as per the chargesheet filed.
Investigators also added that Ram had convinced his nephew to confess his crime.
The body of the minor was supposed to be taken and disposed in the Hiranagar canal nearby, however a vehicle could not be arranged in time.
The juvenile, Vishal, Khajuria and Mannu lifted the body and took it back to the 'devisthan' while Ram kept watch outside, the chargesheet said.
The minor was sedated with ‘manar’ and was kept in the ‘devisthan’ covered with a rug and a matress, investigators said.
Chargesheets were filed for Ram, his nephew, his son Vishal, SPOs Khajuria and Surender Verma and friend Mannu.
While Ram has been charged with kidnapping, murder and destruction of evidence, Mannu has been charged with kidnapping.
The chargesheet also named head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took a bribe of Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed vital evidence.