Supreme Court has transferred Kathua rape case trial from J&K to Pathankot court; it has also ruled out CBI inquiry.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the state to Pathankot in neighbouring Punjab.
Soon after the apex court transferred the case out of the state where the crime took place in January 2018 and ruled out CBI inquiry, Mufti took to Twitter and said, “Welcome today’s decision by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Kathua case. This will go a long way to boost the morale of our @JmuKmrPolice force who in the face of great adversity have left no stone unturned to ensure that the deceased’s family gets justice”.
The case investigated by the Crime Branch of the J&K police is being currently heard in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) at Kathua after two separate charge-sheets were filed by it against the eight accused in April. The accused have pleaded not guilty and demanded the case be handed over to the CBI. They are being supported by a recently formed pressure group called Hindu Ekta Manch which has openly accused the J&K police of being biased against the accused.
The top court, however, while hearing the plea of rape victim's family, said on Monday that fear and fair cannot be allowed to exist together. After transferring the case, the top court also said day to day hearing would take place in the matter. The court also ordered for in-camera proceedings.
The apex court also allowed J&K government to appoint public prosecutor in Pathankot Court and also asked it to provide security to the victim's family, their lawyer and witnesses. The counsel for the state government had earlier told SC that it was ready for a fair trial of Kathua rape case in the state. He also said it opposed the transfer of the case to another state.
Earlier, the father and lawyer of the eight-year-old nomadic girl, who was abducted and then kept inside Devasthan temple premises at Rasana in Kathua for about one week during which she was allegedly drugged, raped repeatedly and then murdered, had moved the Supreme Court seeking shifting the trial of the case from Kathua to Chandigarh. The family cited that the trial of the case will not be done in a free and fair manner in home state J&K.
The SC will next hear the case on July 9.