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Sedatives overdose left Kathua victim incapacitated to resist rape, murder: J-K Crime Branch


Press Trust of India Jammu/Pathankot
The eight-year-old girl from Kathua, who was gang-raped and killed, was overdosed with a cocktail of sedatives through her captivity,"rendering her incapacitated" to resist sexual assault and murder, states the supplementary charge sheet filed by Jammu and Kashmir's Crime Branch today.
The charge sheet filed in the Pathankot sessions court sums up the investigation of the Jammu and Kashmir Police's Crime Branch team and also gives details of the analyses of calls and bank accounts that led it to the eight accused of the brutal crime in January this year.
The supplementary charge sheet was submitted by a Crime Branch team -- led by Senior Superintendent of Police R K Jalla and special public prosecutors J K Chopra and Santokh Singh Basra, Bhopinder Singh and Harminder Singh -- before Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh.
"We have submitted the supplementary charge sheet, giving details of call analyses, bank details and medical reports," special public prosecutor Chopra told PTI.
The charge sheet lists in chilling detail the sedatives, including cannabis, forcefully given to the child from a minority nomadic community, who was abducted on January 10 and allegedly kept in captivity for three days. She was killed on January 14 and her body was found in a forested area near Kathua on January 17, officials said.
During the course of the investigation, "it has been established that the victim was administered sedatives by accused during her captivity", the charge sheet states.
She was given 'mannar' (believed to be local cannabis) as well as Epitril 0.5 mg on an empty stomach, it says.
"She was forcefully administered five tablets of Clonazepam of 0.5 mg each on January 11, 2018 which is higher than the safe therapeutic dose. Subsequently more tablets were given...The signs and symptoms of an overdose may include drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, slow reflexes, slowed or stopped breathing, coma (loss of consciousness) and death," according to the medical expert's report submitted along with the charge sheet.
The peak concentration of Clonazepam is achieved in the blood after "one hour to 1.5 hours" of oral administration and its absorption is complete "irrespective of (whether it is) administered with or without food", states the report.
It says the tablets given to the eight-year-old could have pushed her into a state of shock or coma.
"... the expert opinion coupled with other evidence that has come on record prima-facie establishes that the victim child was continuously administered overdose of Clonazepam (Epitril) rendering her incapacitated to resist rape and murder," the charge sheet says.
The Crime Branch has arrested Sanji Ram, custodian of a temple where the child was allegedly confined, his son Vishal and his juvenile nephew, two special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias 'Dipu' and Surender Verma and friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu. All of them were named in the first charge sheet on April 9.
It also arrested head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Ram and destroyed crucial evidence. Raj and Dutta have since been dismissed from service.
The supplementary charge sheet highlights the efforts of Vishal and his father Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the crime, to create an alibi. They were allegedly trying to show that Vishal had never visited Kathua was actually taking an exam on January 15.
It says Kumar was not only in constant touch with Khajuria but also in contact with Raj, who is alleged to have played a pivotal role in striking a deal between the police and Ram for destruction of evidence.
The charge sheet has submitted Kumar's detailed call analysis to show he shared a common location with other accused on crucial dates of the crime and immediately thereafter.
The duration of the calls made and their frequency increased after the rape and murder, leading to "irresistible conclusion of knee deep involvement of accused Surinder Kumar with other accused...", the charge sheet says.
The Crime Branch also conducted an analysis of the two bank accounts of Ram and found he had made huge cash withdrawals.
Witness statements recorded by the Crime Branch confirmed the accused had undertaken no constructional activity and had no social obligation either, the document says.
The Crime Branch alleged in its charge sheet that the withdrawals were made to bribe the police officers for destruction of evidence.
A copy of the supplementary charge sheet has been handed to the defence counsel.
Earlier this month, the Crime Branch informed the Supreme Court that it would be submitting a supplementary charge sheet in the case.
The apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, had on July 9 given it eight weeks to file the document.
The district and sessions court in Pathankot framed charges of rape and murder against the seven accused in the case on June 8, after the Supreme Court transferred the case from Kathua on a plea of victim's family

Ram, considered the main accused, is alleged to have hatched the conspiracy with the other accused for kidnapping the girl as part of a strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area.
The fate of the eighth accused, a juvenile, was yet to be decided after the Crime Branch moved an application in the high court claiming him to be an adult.

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First Published: Jul 30 2018 | 5:21 PM IST

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