Kathua

Pathankot:Pathankot court convicted six persons in the sensational case of rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl from a village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.

The sentencing will take place on a subsequent date.

The in-camera trial in the case that shook the nation last year had ended on 3 June when district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh had announced that the verdict was to be delivered on this day.

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Elaborate security arrangements had been made in and around the court and in Kathua in view of the pronouncement of the judgment.

As stated in the charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on 10 January last year, was allegedly raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for 4 days before she was bludgeoned to death.

The day-to-day trial commenced in the first week of June last year at the district and sessions court in Pathankot in the neighbouring state of Punjab, about 100 km from Jammu and 30 km from Kathua after the Supreme Court ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir.

The apex court order came after lawyers in Kathua prevented Crime Branch officials from filing a charge sheet in the sensational case, which shocked the nation.

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The prosecution team in the case comprised JK Chopra, SS Basra, and Harminder Singh.

The Crime Branch arrested village head, Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested.

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Charges of rape and murder were framed by the district and sessions judge against seven out of the eight accused. The trial against the juvenile is yet to begin as his petition on determining his age is to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.