SC dismisses plea for fresh probe in Kathua case

SC dismisses plea for fresh probe in Kathua case

The bench said the accused could raise this issue before the lower court during the ongoing trial.

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea to direct the CBI to undertake further investigation or to re-investigate the Kathua gang-rape-cum-murder of an eight-year-old girl on January 12.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud said we are not inclined to entertain the petition, even as the accused-petitioner claimed the investigation undertaken into the case by a special investigation team was not impartial and comprised officers who faced heinous charges like custodial death and rape.

“There is no reason to order further investigation or de novo investigation,” the bench said, to the submission made by advocate Ankur Sharma on behalf of accused Parvesh Kumar.

Sharma claimed that there were infirmities in witnesses statements and some of which have been extracted by coercion. He also submitted since some police personnel were also accused in the case, it was all the more necessary to order a CBI probe.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing Vishal Jagotra (18), an accused, said it was highly unlikely and improbable to accept in the Indian context that a 60-year-old father would call his son studying outside the state to commit the “dastardly” act of raping a child.

The bench, however, noted about 80 witnesses have already been examined in the case. It rejected both the petitions.

On May 7, the top court had transferred the trial in the case from Kathua in Jammu to Pathankot in Punjab on a plea by the victim's father, following surcharged atmosphere over there in view of protest by the Bar members.

There was a huge public outcry across the country, forcing the government to bring in April an ordinance to award death sentence as a maximum punishment to a convict if the victim is below 12 years of age. Subsequently, in July, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was passed by the Lok Sabha to replace the ordinance.