JNS: A fast-track court in Pathankot on Monday awarded life sentence to three persons for the horrific gang rape-and-murder of an eight year-old girl in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kathua district. Three other convicts have been sentenced to five-year imprisonment.
However, the court acquitted the seventh accused, Vishal Jhangotra — son of main accused Sanji Ram — in the absence of any credible evidence. The eighth accused, a juvenile, is being tried in Kathua.
Sanjhi Ram, a former revenue officer and caretaker of the temple where the crime took place, special police officer Deepak Khajuria, and Parvesh Kumar, a civilian, have been given life-term imprisonment after conviction under the Ranbir Penal Code sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, murder, kidnapping, gangrape, destruction of evidence, drugging the victim and common intention, the lawyers said. The three have also been fined 1 lakh each.
Three accomplices — subinspector Anand Dutta, head constable Tilak Raj and special police officer Surender Verma who were convicted for destruction of evidence have been handed over five years imprisonment, they added.
In his 400-page judgment, Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh said, “Perpetrators of the crime have acted in such a manner as if a ‘law of the jungle’ prevailed.
Heaven and hell are not geographical locations. Our thoughts, actions and character create a situation of heaven or hell for us. Needless to say the commission of this devilish and monstrous crime has sent shock waves across society, which means the guilty need to be brought under the sword of justice.”
Lawyers defending Vishal said he was away at college in Meerut, where he is pursuing a BSc degree in agriculture, at the time of the crime.
J&K Crime Branch’s chargesheet, however, said, “In the course of investigation, it transpired that Vishal actively took part in the rape and murder of the victim and later tried to create an alibi by resorting to manipulating attendance records of his college in connivance with Sanjhi Ram and a relative Kishore Kumar.”