Kathua case: Friend’s deposition played key role in nailing accused
We need to teach the Bakarwals a lesson. We have murdered the girl: Co-accused told lifer cop
The statement by Singh, who was witness number 21 for the prosecution, and confessions by Deepak and the other accused in the case, played a pivotal role in substantiating the motive for the crime.
The witness, in his statement before a judicial magistrate and later corroborated before district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh, deposed that Deepak had confided that he and the juvenile (co-accused) had “murdered the girl”.
Deepak and Sanji Ram wanted to teach the Bakarwals a lesson, as they, along with other locals, had strained relations with the community, said Singh, an old friend of Deepak’s, in his deposition, which ET has exclusively accessed.
Singh and Deepak were partying on New Year’s eve and had come to Kootah Morh village to purchase ‘pakoras’, when Deepak went to a medical store and bought some medicines, Singh said in his deposition.
Deepak told him that the medicine was a tranquiliser, Singh said.
On January 12, 2018, Singh asked Deepak about plans for the Lohri festival the next day, to which Deepak revealed that a search operation for a missing girl from the Bakarwal community was ongoing.
Deepak confided that he, along with Sanji Ram and the juvenile (Sanji Ram’s nephew), had confined the missing girl in a “Devasthan” (a place of worship) at Rasana village.
Singh said in the deposition that he had advised Deepak to hand over the girl to the Bakarwal community. The next day, January 13, Singh asked about the child during a telephonic chat with Deepak, to which the latter said he would consult Sanji Ram on releasing her.
The next day, however, Deepak urgently sought to meet Singh.
“Deepak was perturbed and restless. Upon enquiring, he told me that he, along with the juvenile, has murdered the girl,” as per Singh’s deposition. Deepak then warned him not to share the information with anyone, Singh deposed before the court.
The court has also relied upon a 108-page analysis by experts on the “longitude and latitude” of cellphone tower locations, finding force in the prosecution’s case against Sanji Ram and two other accused, who were awarded life imprisonment. “An inference can certainly be drawn about the criminal conspiracy amongst Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar for hatching a conspiracy,” the court has held.
In his cross-examination, Sanji Ram revealed that the Bakarwal community was coming downhill and spoiling the crops of the locals.
They were encroaching upon the land, to which he had objected, Ram said.
The child’s foster father also told the court that since he was the only Muslim residing in that area, the other residents wanted him to leave.
Co-accused Parvesh Kumar and Deepak Khajuria had pleaded impotency before the court, but their contention was rejected after medical examination proved that they were not impotent.