A special court in Pathankot on Monday handed life term to three main accused and five-year jail for another three in the gruesome rape and murder of eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in January 2018. However, the court acquitted ‘master mind’ Sanjhi Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra of all charges for lack of evidence.
Interestingly, as per the charge-sheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir police, Vishal Jangotra was in the thick of the action in sexually assaulting the nomad girl and his father conspired to kill the girl in order to protect his son, as well as scare away the girl’s community from the area.
The police said the girl was abducted and held captive at a temple belonging to Sanji Ram for four days before being killed and disposed of in the nearby forest. The case sparked an outrage and assumed a communal colour. Social activists organised campaigns to raise funds to help the girl’s family to fight the case in court. (However, the girl’s father told the media that he did not receive any fund.)
At the same time, Sanji Ram’s family and associates accused the J&K police of slapping a false case against him. They also demanded a CBI investigation. In a political fall out, two BJP ministers in the Mehbooba Muft’s government were forced to resign for supporting the accused.
In March 2018, a Zee News expose showed that Vishal was in fact in Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, where he was seen visiting ATMs at the time of crime by the CCTV cameras. Vishal had also produced a testimony to show that he was actually taking an exam in the Meerut Agriculture university during those days, reports said.
Apparently, the court has taken cognisance of these evidences while acquitting him. Then the question arises over the veracity of the charge-sheet filed by the J&K police.