Cop arrested for destroying evidence in Kathua minor rape-murder case

Cop arrested for destroying evidence in Kathua minor rape-murder case

A police officer was detained for questioning, while a head constable was arrested by the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir police for allegedly destroying evidence in the rape and murder case of an 8-year-old nomad girl in Kathua district.

Sub Inspector Anand Dutta, who was initially the investigating officer of the case, has been detained while Havaldar Tilak Raj, posted at Hiranagar police station, was arrested after it was prima facie established that he had washed the minor victim's clothes that were soaked in blood and mud, before sending them for forensic test, sources said.

Two special police officers (SPOs), Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, and a juvenile are already in police custody for their alleged involvement in the abduction, rape and murder of the girl from Rasana village on Jan. 10. According to the investigation, she was drugged and held captive for a week before being murdered.

State police chief Shesh Pal Vaid said that action would be taken against personnel found wanting in their professional job. The incident has already snowballed into a major political and communal controversy in the violence-hit state with alliance partners in the state government - PDP and BJP - rallying behind the two sides.

Last week two senior BJP ministers - Lal Singh and Prakash Chander Ganga while addressing a rally in Kathua organised by Hindu Ekta Manch, a fringe right-wing group protesting against the arrest of the accused, asked the police not to make any further arrests in the case. They even called the investigation of the state Crime Branch, which is being monitored by the high court, as 'jungle raj'. The BJP ministers wanted a CBI inquiry.
 
Clashes, police action

However, after drawing Opposition flak, Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) ministers Altaf Bukhari and Nayeem Akhtar decried attempts to politicise an inhuman criminal act. Akhtar, who is a close confidant of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, without naming his colleagues from BJP, said that instead of trying to whip up communal passions over the shameful criminal act, and hampering investigation, the law enforcing agencies should be allowed to bring the criminals to justice.
 
Meanwhile, police on Thursday used force against the protesters during a march taken out by Hindu Ekta Manch in Kathua demanding a CBI probe into the incident. Reports said several people were injured in the police action and the clashes that followed on Jammu-Srinagar national highway in Chadwal area.

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