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Posted at: Jul 11, 2019, 7:11 AM; last updated: Jul 11, 2019, 7:11 AM (IST)

Kathua victim’s father seeks death penalty for convicts

Kathua victim’s father seeks death penalty for convicts
Sanji Ram, one of the eight accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, arrives for a court appearance in Pathankot. Reuters file

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10

Just over a month after a Pathankot court convicted six of the seven accused in the Kathua rape-murder case, the victim’s father on Wednesday moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the solitary acquittal and seeking death penalty for the convicts after describing it as “rarest of the rare case”.

In the appeal filed through counsel Rajvinder Singh Bains and Utsav Bains, the victim’s father submitted that the trial court sentenced Sanjhi Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar to life imprisonment for “cold-blooded, planned brutal murder, without any provocation after abduction, administering drugs and rape”.

He said the trial court considered the fact that such a barbaric crime had been committed by the accused, but, at the same time, it was incapable of delivering justice that the accused deserved.

He added the “measure of punishment” depended on the atrocity of the crime, the criminal’s conduct and the victim’s defenceless state. “The punishment should serve as a deterrent to the similar depraved minds”.

He added the trial court failed to appreciate the gravity of the offence, mode of its commission, the victim’s age, impact on society and the evidence on record. “Therefore, the order passed by the court below is liable to modified to the extent of enhancing the sentence from life imprisonment to death to all accused”. The appeal is likely to be listed before a bench headed by Justice Rajiv Sharma on July 18, when appeals filed by the accused come up for hearing.

The father submitted that the accused wanted to teach a lesson to a community by killing and raping a young member. Three other accused — police officers Anand Dutta, Tilak Raj and Surender Kumar — had been sentenced to five-year imprisonment for destruction of evidence, even though it was proven beyond all the reasonable doubt that “all respondents/accused in connivance with each other had committed the most heinous crime”.

The father added the prosecution examined 114 witnesses. Their statements clearly established that it was carefully planned strategy to remove “minority nomadic community from the area” and all accused conspired with each other and committed the heinous crime. He further contended that accused Vishal Jangotra’s plea of alibi was accepted by the trial court on untenable grounds. There were five trains between Meerut and Kathua and some of these were daily.

“The distance between the two towns is merely 480 km and it takes between nine and 11 hours for different trains to cover the same distance. Even by road, the distance can be covered in 10 hours… Therefore the plea of alibi by the accused through his sister, ATM and other evidence of having appeared in an examination did not meet the test of impossibility to be at the place of occurrence”.

‘Accused wanted to teach community a lesson’

  • In the appeal filed through counsel Rajvinder Singh Bains and Utsav Bains, the Kathua victim’s father submitted that the accused wanted to teach a lesson to a community by killing and raping a young member
  • The father added the prosecution examined 114 witnesses. Their statements clearly established that it was a carefully planned strategy to remove “minority nomadic community from the area” and all accused conspired with each other and committed the heinous crime

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