SRINAGAR: Sanji Ram, a retired government official who the Crime Branch’s probe nailed as the mastermind in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, has gone into hiding after his name cropped up.
A top Crime Branch source, who spoke under condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, told Kashmir Reader that Sanji has gone into hiding. “We had gone to his home but he was not there. He has become absconder,” he said.
According to the investigating agency, Sanji was the one who allegedly “motivated” SPO Deepak Khajuria, one of the accused in the case, to execute the heinous crime with the aim being to drive out nomads from Rasana village of Kathua.
The arrests of the accused angered people from the majority community in the district who established a rightwing outfit, the Hindu Ekta Manch (HEM), and rallied for the accused. They also demanded the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation for the probe.
Sanji was among the HEM’s vanguards and would address the outfit’s rallies and meetings, according to locals. However, from the day his name surfaced in the media, he has gone into hiding, abandoning participating in HEM meetings.
Meanwhile, Talib Husain, the Gujjar activist rallying for justice in the case, alleged that BJP minister Lal Singh, who addressed an HEM rally last week in favour of the accused, has been pressurising a senior police official not to make further arrests. “Lal Singh in a very rude manner told a district police officer not to arrest anyone related to the case,” Hussain told Kashmir Reader.
The main motive of HEM is to save the mastermind of the Kathua rape and murder case from the law as his arrest can unravel the entire conspiracy, which was to intimidate the area’s Muslim nomadic community into leaving the place. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for today.