Justice for ashifa #deathpunishmentfor theRapists

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Javid Ahmad

An eight-year-old Asifa was looking for her ponies when a boy heard her voice and kidnapped her in the forest area of Rasana, Hiranagar in Kathua district in Jammu on 10 January.

The next, victim had undergone horrendous assault, kept in captivity in Temple, drugged unconscious and gang raped at least thrice by accused persons till she was brutally murdered and dumped in the forest.

What went wrong with the initial investigation, how conspiracy was hatched and involving cops to shield perpetrators from law, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime branch, Jammu and Kashmir police cracked the sensational crime in nearly three months.

The main accused in the crime are Shanji Ram, 60, a former revenue official, his nephew, a juvenile and son Vishal, a student of BSc Agriculture at Akansha College Mirapur, UP, Special Police Officer (SPO) Deepak Khajuria. While other accused Sub-Inspector Anand Dutta and Head constable Tilak Raj were found involved in corruption to allegedly shield actual culprits and destroying crucial evidence, another accused Parvesh Kumar and SPO Surrender Kumar provided assistance in executing crime.

The scientific revelation

The medical reports confirm the victim was found prima-facie raped before being killed. Furthermore, investigations have established that the victim was raped by more than one accused with common intention. Accordingly, section 376-D RPC was added in the case.

“The Medical opinion also established the fact that the victim was kept without food and administered sedatives and her cause of death was Asphyxia leading to cardio-pulmonary arrest.”

The potency test of the juvenile, Vishal and Pravesh was conducted and the report was found positive, clearing the duo were capable of performing sexual intercourse.

The experts have sought re-examination of Deepak Khajuria for the potency test which shall be done after seeking court permission.

Crime branch recovered and seized various items including blood stained wooden sticks and hair strand from Devisthan and nearby forest, where the dead body was dumped by the accused, were forwarded to the experts in New Delhi for DNA profiling.

The FSL reports confirm one of the hair stands recovered from the Devisthan matched with the DNA profile of Victim Asifa which confirmed that the victim was kept in captivity at Devisthan. Sanji is sole custodian of the Devsathan.

Similarly, FSL report on hair strand recovered from place of recovery of dead body, it matched with the DNA profile of Juvenile.

Forensic Science Laboratory, Srinagar could not frame any report on the samples as Dutta and Tilak Raj had destroyed the evidence by washing the clothes of the deceased. However, the FSL Delhi with updated technology confirmed the presence of blood stains on the Frock-Shalwar of the victim which matched with the DNA profile of the victim.

“DNA profiling also established presence of victim’s blood on the vaginal smears.”

The post mortem report of victim confirms that hymen of the deceased “was not found intact, “lacerations on vulva of the vagina were also observed”, besides “blood stained discharge was found inside vagina of the deceased.”

The Call Detail Records (CDR) have prima facie established the individual and common locations of all the accused in and around the scene of crime on crucial dates of occurrence.

The CDR revealed that Deepak was in constant touch with one Surinder Kumar, also SPO in Police Station Hiranagar from the date of kidnapping of the victim.

However, Surinder could not give any plausible and tangible explanation to investigators regarding his telephonic conversation with accused Deepak and a sudden spike in their frequency despite of the fact that Deepak had disclosed to investigators that he had send Surinder to ascertain the movement of Bakarwals in and around Devisthan on 14-Januray-2018, when victim was kept in captivity in Devsathan, and also to inform him (Deepak) regarding the condition of victim which Surrender did.

Deepak disclosed before investigators that Surender visited the Devisthan and conveyed to him regarding the movement of Bakarwals and condition of the victim.

Besides, some of the witnesses corroborated his movement/presence in and around Devisthan.

Crime branch is further investigating his involvement of Surender in the crime for which investigators have obtained permission for conducting of his narco- analysis.

The conspiracy and crime sequence

In the first week of January, accused Sanji decided to put a plan to dislodge the Bakarwal Community from Rasana area, which had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, into operation and in pursuance to that he made accused Deepak Khajuria, an SPO in Police Department and juvenile as part of conspiracy and assigned them job separately and individually.

On 4 January, accused Sanji, who is maternal uncle of juvenile provoked and induced juvenile to take revenge from the Bakarwals, who had earlier beaten him.

On 07 January evening accused Deepak along with his friend Vikram went to Bitu Medical shop at Kottah Morh and purchased one strip of Epitril 0.5 mg containing 10 tablets. The medicine as per the prescription was not available with Bitu, so he gave Deepak Epitril0.05 mg instead.

Sanji Ram told his nephew, a juvenile to kidnap Asifa daughter of Yousaf Bakarwal who often had come to the forests behind Sanji’s house for grazing her horses.

On 8th of January, while JCL was busy working in the field Deepak Khajuria called him and offered him cigarettes. After that Deepak lured him to kidnap Asifa on the assurance that he would help him in passing the board exams through cheating.

The accused Sanji had tasked juvenile to kidnap and to give some intoxicant to the minor victim and thereafter confine her at Devisthan in the first instance.

Subsequently, juvenile shared the entire plan worked out by Sanji and Deepak Khajuria with his close friend Parvesh Kumar, whose assistance was sought in executing the plan on ground.

On 9 January juvenile along with Parvesh went to Hiranagar and purchased four Manars (containing sedative effect) from a shop.

On 10 January Asifa was inquiring from a local woman about her ponies when juvenile, who was sitting in the terrace of Shanji’s house, heard her and came down stairs, took 03 Manars and keys of Devisthan and told Asifa that he had seen her horses. He led her to jungle and also called accused Mannu, who was already waiting for his signal. Sensing some trouble the victim tried to flee away but the juvenile caught, muzzled and pushed her to the ground. The accused juvenile administered Manars’ forcibly to the victim while Parvesh held her legs.

The victim fell unconscious and was raped by juvenile. Thereafter, Parvesh also attempted to rape her but could not do it. They took the girl and kept her inside Devisthan and covered her with Darees (cotton thread Mats) under the table.

On 11 January parents of Asifa reached Devisthan and enquired from accused Sanji about her whereabouts and Shanji replied that she will be back as she might have gone to some relative’s house.

In the noon Deepak came near the house of Sanji and signalled juvenile, who took keys of Devisthan and duo as per the plan reached Devisthan. There Deepak asked juvenile to fetch water. Thereafter, Deepak took out a strip of sedatives containing ten 10 tablets. While the juvenile lifted head of the girl the Deepak put two tablets out of the strip in victim’s mouth, made her to drink water and rubbed her throat with his fingers. Deepak left from Devisthan and the juvenile locked it and hid the drug strip under a heap of dry grass, nearby.

In the evening juvenile went to Devsathan for lighting Jyot and found the victim unconscious.

On 11 January juvenile informed Shanji’s son Vishal Jangotra about the kidnapping of the girl over phone and asked him if he wanted to “satisfy his lust.’

On 12th January evening, accused Vishal reached Rasana from Meerut. Juvenile narrated to him about kidnapping and confinement of the girl in Devisthan. Fe hours later, juvenile again went to Devisthan and administered 3 sedative tablets to the victim, unconscious with empty stomach.

On the same day the Police party along with Bakarwals started search of the missing girl and accused Deepak came to the house of accused Sanji with another police official namely Iftikar Wani. Deepak asked for water and at the same time advised the juvenile to ensure administering of sedatives to the victim in time.

Attempt to shield culprits

The accused Sanji Ram had already taken the accused police officials into confidence and settled the deal to take care of the things which would ensue in the process of culmination of his conspired plan.

In pursuance of the settled deal accused HC Tilak Raj, who was also accompanying the search party, took Sanji to cow shed and reiterated that necessary payments have to be made to the investigating officer of the case i.e. accused Sub-inspector Anand Dutta in order to save him and other accused from the clutches of law.

On 12th of January juvenile’s mother, Tripta Devi, reached Sanji’s residence at Rasana. Sanji Ram narrated her son’s involvement in kidnapping and confinement of the girl. Further, Sanji gave Devi a packet containing Rs. 1.5 lacs, directing to hand over the same to accused Tilak Raj, subsequently handed over to him, as Shanji had to attend some work. Devi is a close friend of accused Tilak as both were classmates in Govt. Primary School at Damiyal. Pertinently, another instalment of 1.5 lakhs was given to Tilak Raj by Sanji Ram at his residence for SI Anand Dutta.

Tilak Raj, who was in knowledge of entire game plan, met accused Sanji Ram at home on 17 Januray and requested him to handover one of the accused as things have gone beyond their control due to massive agitation by Bakarwals. Instead of handing over any accused, Sanji Ram paid an amount of Rs 1.00 lakhs to accused SI Anand Dutta through said Tilak Raj which Tilak Raj readily accepted.

On 18 January juvenile was apprehended and taken to Police Station for questioning. Sanji Ram visited him in police station Hiranagar and told him not to disclose the involvement of his son Vishal in the crime and promised him that he will get him cleared from the charges at the earliest.

SI Dutta was found to have directed juvenile to implicate one Gadee, who had also been lifted by police for questioning, in the killing of  Asifa in order to pave way for clearing him of the charges. Instead of implicating the Gadee, juvenile admitted the charges of kidnapping and murder of the victim before investigators.

Again, Dutta warned juvenile, asking to stick to the tutored version given by him and to take the entire blame on to himself.

On 19 January, SI Dutta along with his PSO’s took juvenile to spot from  where the victim’s body was recovered. At the spot Dutta told juvenile to hold a stone in his hand and took his photograph. He also prepared a Disclosure Memo showing the Stone to have been recovered on the disclosure of juvenile. Thereafter, Dutta took Juvenile to a cow shed and again took his picture in the dry grass shed and Machine room respectively.  Then Dutta took juvenile’s photograph near the ashes of wood.

“This all was being done by the accused Dutta in order to attach an element of truthfulness to his concocted story and in the process to create false evidence so that other accused couldn’t be screened from the grave criminal charges for which he had received Rs 4.00 lacs out of the settled amount of Rs 5.00 lacs from accused Sanji Ram.”

Sanji Ram had kept a good amount of cash available with him well in advance. However, Crime Branch investigations regarding the complete financial trail are underway.

Rituals and rape together in Temple

On 13 January juvenile, Vishal and Sanji left for Devisthan, where juvenile and Sanji Ram performed rituals. In the meantime, accused Parvesh also reached Devisthan. Sanji left Devisthan from back gate for performing some rituals and met Deepak, who was waiting for him. “The accused Vishal raped Asifa. Thereafter, juvenile also raped her while Parvesh was present.”

After committing the rape, juvenile asked Vishal and Parvesh to leave Devisthan. Again juvenile took out 03 tablets out of the strip and gave the same to the victim, covered her with mats again and put the utensil in front of her to hide her. Juvenile kept the remaining two tablets under a heap of garbage, near Devsathan, later recovered by crime branch.

After distributing Lohri to relatives in the evening, juvenile told Sanji that he and Vishal committed gang rape with Asifa inside Devisthan (Temple).

Shanji orders killing to achieve goal

Sanji directed juvenile that the “time was ripe to kill the girl so as to achieve the ultimate goal” of criminal conspiracy hatched among the accused.

Following Sanji’s directions at Devisthan, Parvesh, Vishal and his juvenile nephew removed the victim from captivity and took her to a culvert, situated in front of Devisthan. In the meantime accused Deepak also reached there told juvenile to wait as he wanted to rape the girl before she is killed.

Child gang raped again before killing

As such once again the little girl Asifa was gang raped--first by Deepak and then by juvenile. After committing the barbaric act of rape on minor victim the accused Deepak kept her neck on his left thigh and applied force with his hands on her neck to kill her. As accused Deepak was unsuccessful in killing her, juvenile pressing his knees against her back of victim and strangulated her with Chunni by force.

Thereafter, in order to make sure that the victim is dead, juvenile hit her twice on head with stone. The plan was to be transport and disposed off the victim’s body in the Cannal at Hiranagar, however, as the vehicle could not be arranged in time and the body was taken back by juvenile, Vishal, Deepak and Parvesh to Devisthan being the safe place till its disposal while Sanji kept watch outside Devisthan.

On 15 January accused Sanji told his juvenile nephew and his son Vishal that Kishore had refused to bring the car. Hence the dead body was not thrown in the Cannal but in the jungle instead as Shaji felt it was not safe to keep it inside Devisthan anymore as the people were likely to visit the Temple next day for Fanda which was to be performed by accused Sanji Ram himself.

When juvenile found Parcvesh not present at home, he and Vishal decided to execute the plan without Parvesh.  Juvenile lifted the victim’s body on shoulder disposed it off in jungle while accused Vishal was guarding outside bushes. Juvenile accompanied Vishal to Ghagwal railway station wherefrom he left for Meerut.

Victim’s body recovered

On 17th January body of Asifa was recovered taken into custody by police for conducting autopsy. The post-mortem of the deceased was conducted by doctors at District Hospital Kathua on the same day.

CB turns Dutta-led initial probe fake

Crime Branch has established on the basis of oral, scientific as well as documentary evidence that the victim was neither kept in captivity at Cow shed nor had she been killed on the spot from where her dead body was recovered. “Thus rendering the entire story created by accused SI Dutta as farce and far from truth.”

Cops destroy evidence

The investigation has established, on the strength of evidence both oral as well as scientific, that the accused SI Dutta and Tilak Raj have in furtherance of Criminal Conspiracy hatched between themselves and the principal accused Sanji Ram washed victim’s clothes, she wore at the time of her death with the intention to remove the clay and blood stains/sperms etc and thereafter forwarded the same to FSL for expert opinion.

This apart the accused SI Dutta deliberately did not conduct the search of Devisthan for tracing out the missing girl. Dutta not even searched the premises and other suspected installation/houses in the vicinity where from the innocent girl had gone missing and was lastly seen by a witness.

Dutta remained very casual and left serious criminal lapses deliberately in order to give undue benefit or to expunge the accused involved in the case. Dutta while investigating the case has deliberately not seized Dupatta, hair band and neckless of the deceased girl as well as clothes of the juvenile after his confession which is evident from the seizure memos prepared by the Dutta during the course of investigation.

The Chunni (shawl), used for strangulating the victim, was seized later on by SIT crime branch along with Hair band. These “vital pieces of evidence” were deliberately left out by Dutta to confer undue benefit to the accused. The necklace worn by the victim (as seen in the photographs of victim) was also not seized and has been destroyed as the same could not be traced and Dutta was unable to justify that as to why these items were not seized as a piece of evidences in this case.

Similarly, Dutta not even collected the blood sample of victims from the board of doctors who conducted autopsy of victim at District Hospital Kathua.

Based on the facts, circumstantial evidence , call details, confessions, statements of official of Police station Hiranagar, FSL report and other evidences, SI Dutta and HC Tilak Raj have found involved in commission of offence punishable u/s 201/RPC, r/w 343,376-D,302,120-B/RPC.

The enmity between the two communities

Sanji Ram son of Des Raj of Rasana was against the settlement of Bakarwals in Rasana Kootah, and Dhamyal area, and always kept on motivating the members of his community not to provide land for grazing or any other kind of assistance.

HC Tilak and SPO Deepak were also against the settlement of Bakarwals in these areas and had already discussed the issue with Sanji Ram to Chalk out a strategy for dislodging the Bakarwals from the area.  They blamed Bakarwals on one pretext or the other and used to threaten them as Tilak and Deepak also had some serious issues with Bakarwals over the land occupation and crop damage being residents of the same area. Already, Deepak had few scuffles with Bakarwals. The particular community (Hindu) had a general impression that the Bakarwals (Muslims) indulge in cow slaughter and drug trafficking and that their children were turning into drug addicts. This rivalry between the two communities has already led to registration of various FIRs and counter FIRs at different adjoining police stations of the area.

Crime Branch investigators have abundantly made it clear that the accused had a reason to act against the Bakarwal Community and hence “the conspiracy ultimately resulted into the “gruesome rape and brutal murder of an innocent 8-year-old budding flower (child), a child of only 8-years-of age, who being a small kid became a soft target.

The statements of more than 130 witnesses were recorded by crime branch in the case. All the witnesses examined have unequivocally corroborated the facts that emerged in the course of investigation.

Shanji-UP connection

Investigators have mentioned in the charge sheet that accused Vishal, a student of BSc Agriculture at Akansha College Mirapur, UP has tried to create an alibi by resorting to manipulation of records and creation of false evidence with the connivance and assistance of his father, Shanji and his relative Kishore son of  Prem Nath of Chanmorian, Hiranagar, R.P Singh, Chairman, Akansha College Mirapur,UP and some other employees of Chawdhary Charan Singh University Meerut, who as per the inputs received during investigation have received huge amount as a kick back from the accused Sanji.

“This aspect needs further investigation as records are to be collected from concerned college/university and in respect of some documents expert opinion from FSL is awaited.”

Moreover, the Digital Video Recorder of the Examination Centre where accused claimed to have appeared in examination at Khatoli, Muzaffarnagar was seized and sent for forensic examination.

The Crime branch will produce a supplementary charge sheet in the case after further investigation. The two separate charge sheets have been filed before the court of chief judicial magistrate, Kathua against all accused for crime punishable under section 363/343/376-D/302/201 r/w 120-B RPC. The juvenile will be tried in in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (care and protection) act.



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