Kathua rape-and-murder case: Victim’s father moves Punjab HC to challenge acquittal, enhance punishment

Kathua rape-and-murder case: Victim’s father moves Punjab HC to challenge acquittal, enhance punishment

Chandigarh: The father of the eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kathua district last year has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking enhancement of sentence imposed on the six convicts and also to challenge the acquittal of one accused.
The petitioner on Wednesday requested the High Court to enhance the sentence of Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar from life imprisonment to capital punishment, his counsel Utsav Bains said.
“It is a rarest of the rare case and as per the standards set by the Supreme Court, the case of gang rape and murder of a minor child comes under this category, more so when the manner of committing the crime exhibits complete insensitivity, cruelty, depravity and perversion,” the petition stated.
The petitioner has also requested the court to enhance the sentence of three other convicts – Surinder Kumar, Tilak Raj and Anand Dutta – from five years in jail to life imprisonment.
Last month, a court in Pathankot awarded imprisonment for life to Sanji Ram, who was caretaker of the “devasthanam” (temple) where the crime took place in January last year, and the same sentence to Deepak Khajuria, a special police officer, and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian.
They were convicted under Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) sections relating to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gang-rape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim, and common intention.
The trial court acquitted Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram, on the basis of testimony that he was not in Kathua at the time the crime took place.
“We have also appealed against the wrongful acquittal of Vishal Jangotra in the case,” counsel Bains said, adding that the father of the deceased girl has also sought exemplary compensation for the family.
—PTI