Srinagar: The crime branch of JK Police on Monday filed in court their chargesheet in the case of abduction, rape and murder of 8-year-old Gujjar girl Asifa Bano of Kathua district. Inspector-General (crime), Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba, told Kashmir Reader that seven persons have been accused of the crime in the chargesheet. “The eighth accused is a juvenile. We are in the process of producing the charge-sheet against him,” he said.
Another senior police officer said that the crime branch has conducted meticulous investigations and collected “irrefutable” evidence against the eight accused. “All the eight persons, including the juvenile, had hatched the criminal conspiracy to kill and rape Asifa,” the officer said. “We are satisfied with the investigation and are fully confident that the accused will be successfully tried in the court of law.”
The police officer identified the accused as Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, who is a special police officer (SPO), Deepak Khajuria, also an SPO, Head Constable Tilak Raj, Sub-Inspector Anand Kumar, Surinder Verma and Ramesh Kumar. The accused juvenile, Shubham, is in the custody of a juvenile home.
Sources in the crime branch said that statements of almost a hundred witnesses have been recorded. Forensic reports have established that Asifa was kept captive inside the Devisthan temple in Hira Nagar, of which Sanji Ram is the caretaker. Strands of Asifa’s hair were recovered from the temple after one of the accused told police that she was held there. He said that Asifa was kept unconscious by giving her a sedative.
The police have also established that the motive of the crime was to drive out the nomadic Gujjar community from their homes and land in Kathua district.
Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Kumar are accused of destroying evidence of the crime. Reports say they washed Asifa’s clothes before submitting them as evidence.