The Supreme Court today stayed till May 7 the trial in the Kathua gangrape and murder case, after it was seized with petitions seeking shifting of the trial to Chandigarh and handing over the investigation to the CBI. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said it will deal with the prayer of the victim’s father for shifting of trial to Chandigarh and plea of the accused seeking handing over the probe to CBI. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 7.
The child from a minority nomadic community had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu region on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later. The apex court had yesterday, in a stern warning, said it would transfer the Kathua gangrape and murder case from the local court in Jammu and Kashmir in the “slightest possibility” of lack of fair trial, saying the “real concern” was to hold proper prosecution. The eight-year-old’s father had moved the apex court earlier, apprehending threat to the family, a friend and their lawyer Rajawat. A separate plea was also filed by two accused seeking that the trial in the case be held in Jammu and the probe handed over to the CBI.
The state police’s Crime Branch, which probed the case, filed the main chargesheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district last week. The chargesheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped inside a place of worship before being killed.