The family of convicted mastermind Sanji Ram on Monday demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter of rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua, claiming that he has been "falsely" convicted.
"We had repeatedly requested the government to launch a CBI inquiry into the matter, but no one paid heed to us. We will now file an appeal in the court against the conviction and investigation carried out by the Crime Branch," a family member of Sanji Ram told ANI.
Another family member said: "We want a CBI inquiry into the matter and nothing else."
Earlier today, Sanji Ram, along with Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria and civilian Parvesh Kumar were sentenced to life imprisonment, while three police officials were found guilty of destroying evidence and given five-year jail terms by a Pathankot court.
District and Sessions judge pronounced the three main accused--Sanji Ram, Parvesh Kumar and Deepak Khajuria--guilty and convicted them under Sections 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 376 (d) (gang rape), 328 (Causing hurt by means of poison), 363 (Kidnapping or maiming a minor), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 343 (Wrongful confinement for three or more days) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).
Parvesh Kumar has additionally been found guilty under Sections 376 (d) read with 511 (Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment).
Police officials Anand Dutt, Sub Inspector, Tilak Raj (Head Constable) and Surender Verma, Special Police Officer, have been sentenced to five years in jail under section 201 of RPC for causing destruction of evidence.
The court delivered the much-awaited judgement in the morning convicting the six out of seven accused who were involved in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua in January 2018. It had fixed the hearing in the evening for pronouncing the quantum of sentence.
Village head Sanji Ram, his friend Parvesh Kumar, two Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, Head Constable Tilak Raj, Sub Inspector Anand Dutta were found guilty. Vishal, the son of Sanjhi Ram, was acquitted while the seventh accused is a minor and his trial is yet to begin as the question of his age is yet to be determined.
Speaking to media persons after the commencement of proceeding today, Special Public Prosecutor Santokh Singh Basra said: "Acquittal of Vishal was on the basis of forged documents he had shown during the trial. The prosecution side will file an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to challenge the order of the Pathankot court."
The incident that took place in January last year flared passions in Jammu and Kashmir with lawyers in the Jammu region refusing to take up the case. The case was later transferred to Punjab on Supreme Court's order so that a fair trial could be held.
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