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Charges framed in J&K sex scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Speeding up the trial in the infamous J&K sex scandal, District and Sessions Judge B.S. Mehndiratta today framed charges against all 14 accused under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA) and for rape under section 376 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

The accused include IAS officer Mohammed Iqbal Khandey and two sitting MLAs, Raman Mattoo and G.A. Mir.

On the directions of the Supreme Court, the trial was shifted to the Chandigarh courts in September 2006. Taking up the case after hearing the arguments of the CBI and a battery of defence lawyers put up by the accused on consecutive hearings in the last six months, the sessions court today framed charges against the accused.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently directed the trial court to speed up the trial. The court has fixed the next date of hearing for April 7 to record the statement of prosecution witness No.1, who has been mentioned as a minor rape victim. “Her statement would be recorded in camera as the entire story revolves around her,” said a public prosecutor.

While counsel for the accused have been contradicting the stand of the CBI regarding the age of the rape victim, the investigating agency has been granted permission by the trial court to place additional evidence on record. The CBI has been contesting the claim of the accused that there is no proof of the age.

After listening to the orders of the trial court, the accused, who are on bail, said they would contest the orders in the higher court.

Giving details, public prosecutor R.K. Handa said charges had been framed against Mohammed Iqbal Khandey, Mohammed Yusuf Mir, Raman Matoo and Gulam Ahmad Mir under section 5 of PITA; against Shabir Ahmad Laway, Meharajudin Malik, Masood Ahmed, Mohammed Ashrif Mir, Anil Sethi and DIG K.C. Pandi under section 5 of PITA and section 376 of the RPC.

Against the alleged kingpin in the case, Sabeena , the trial court has framed charges under sections 3 and 5 of PITA and against her husband Abdul Bulla under sections 3, 4 and 5 of PITA and under section 376 of the RPC.

While another accused, Riaz Ahmad Kawa, has been booked under section 3 of PITA, Sahbir Ahmad Langoo has been booked under section 5 of PITA, section 376 of the RPC and under the IT Act.

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