Srinagar, March 9: Investigation by Crime branch into rape-and-murder of 8-year-old Asifa Banu in Kathua has revealed that the person claimed to be juvenile is actually an adult and that it was not an ordinary crime but was in consonance with a large conspiracy to dislodge Bakerwal (nomad) community from Rasana Village in the district.
Highly reliable sources told Srinagar-based news agency Global News Service (GNS) that medical board constituted to ascertain the age of the person who was claimed to be a teenager by police, has turned to be an adult. “On the basis of physical, dental and radiological examination, the approximate age of the individual is above nineteen years (19+),” reads the report by the medical board constituted in consonance with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s direction to the Special Investigation Team of the crime branch, probing the gruesome rape-and-murder.
The sources said that high court had directed the SIT to ascertain the age of the individual claimed to be juvenile by the police which probed the case earlier. Subsequently, a medical board was constituted by the principal GMC Jammu who examined the individual on February 28. The opinion of the medical board was communicated to the SIT by the principal GMC on March 5, the sources said.
Subsequently, the SIT questioned Deepak Khujuria alias Deepu, sources said, revealed that the clothes of the victim were washed by police head constable by name Tilak before sending them to FSL to destroy the evidence in the case.
The SIT, the sources said have submitted these details before the high court in a status report and has stated that it seems that the Head Constable had done so with an intention to screen the offenders from legal punishment. The Head Constable has been arrested on March 7. “The role of other officials who remained associated with the initial investigation, in the destruction of material evidence, is being looked into,” the SIT has submitted in the report as per the highly reliable sources.
They said the SIT, based on witnesses conversant with the facts and circumstances of the case, has concluded that the entire game plan of the gruesome rape and murder was premeditated and the mastermind has been identified and would be arrested soon. “The mastermind behind the entire game was bent upon to dislodge the Bakerwal community and in order to execute the nefarious design, he hatched conspiracy with (others),” they said.
Asifa Bano had been missing since January 10 when she failed to return home from watering horses in her native Rassana forests, and her body was found on January 17.
The next day, after protests rocked the area, the Kathua police had said that a SIT under SDPO border, had been set up to investigate the case and a medical report of the murdered girl was expected within a couple of days.
On January 20, the government transferred the Station House Officer of the Hiranagar police station, ordering a magisterial probe, and three days later, on January 23, handed the case over to the Crime Branch. (GNS)