Court rejects parole plea of accused in Kathua rape and murder case

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has turned down the parole plea of Sanji Ram, the key accused in the January 2018 gang rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, a media report said on Tuesday.

The Bench, as per a report by The Tribune, rejected the plea after apprehension of community clashes and protests in Jammu and Kashmir was expressed if the petitioner was granted the benefit of parole to attend his son’s marriage.

“Given the genuine apprehension expressed as regards the possible law and order consequences, if the petitioner’s prayer for parole is granted, the court is not inclined to accept such prayer at this stage,” the Bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Avneesh Jhingan asserted, while dismissing the petition.

A Pathankot court on June 10, 2019, had convicted six of the seven accused in the rape and murder case. In his petition filed against the State of Jammu and Kashmir and other respondents, Sanji Ram had prayed for eight-week parole to attend the marriage. Jammu and Kashmir was represented by senior advocate RS Cheema and Arshdeep Singh Cheema.

As the case came up for hearing through videoconferencing, a report by the Senior Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Jammu, dated October 31 was placed on record. It stated that the victim’s relatives had returned from the higher reaches to Rasana village, where the marriage was scheduled to take place.

The main accused in the case Sanji Ram, his friend Parvesh Kumar and a special police officer Deepak Khajuria were sentenced to life imprisonment for offenses under Sections 302 (murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code.

They have also been separately sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for the offense of gang rape under Section 376D of the Code.

According to the charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 in the year 2018, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.

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