Kathua rape-murder case: Court orders Jammu police to file FIR against SIT members for torturing witnesses

Four months after the inhuman and gruesome 2018 rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in a Kathua village, the court directed the police to file an FIR against the six members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), probing the case, for torturing and pressurising the witnesses to give false statements.

Following an application by the witnesses, Sachin Sharma, Neeraj Sharma and Sahil Sharma, Judicial Magistrate Prem Sagar directed the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Jammu to file a case against the cognizable offences.

The court directed registration of FIR against the then SSP R K Jalla (now retired), ASP Peerzada Naveed, Deputy Superintendents of Police Shetmbari Sharma and Nissar Hussain, Sub-Inspector Urfan Wani and Kewal Kishore of crime branch of police and asked the SSP (Jammu) to report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11.

"Considered the argument of counsel for the applicant and order of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir. As per the affidavit of the counsel for applicant no proceedings are pending for disposal in the apex court with regard to the case in question," the court order said.

"From the gist of the complaint cognizable offences are made out against the non-applicants herein. Therefore, application of the applicant under section 153 (3) CrPC is allowed with the direction to SSP Jammu to register FIR against the non-applicants under relevant provisions of law and report compliance by next date of hearing on November 11," it said.

Advocate Ankur Sharma pleaded the case for the applicants. The District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh sentenced the three main accused to life imprisonment and the three others were ordered five years in jail for destroying evidence.

The BJP had sacked two of its state ministers under public and media pressure, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, for participating in a rally that supported the accused.

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