The Punjab and Haryana High Court Thursday reserved its decision on the pleas seeking to recall the victim girl as a prosecution witness in the trial of 2006 J&K Sex Scandal. The first identified victim and the prime witness in the sensational case involving the rich and powerful of the state has approached the High Court claiming that the CBI had forced her to depose against the accused persons.
After regular arguments in the case oer the last one week, Justice Augustine George Masih reserved the order Thursday evening on the petitions filed by the victim and two accused, Shabir Ahmad Laway and ex-DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir.
During the resumed hearing of the case, the counsel representing the victim attributed delay in her revision petition against the trial court order of 2016 to the turmoil in the valley.
While the counsels representing the accused and the victim contended that she had been in custody of the CBI prior to her cross-examination before the trial court in Chandigarh in 2007 and she was “tortured” and “tutored” to depose against the accused persons, CBI counsel Sumeet Goel argued that the petition had been filed by victim at a “belated stage” and just few days after the accused approached the High Court.
“She was in the protective custody of Chandigarh Police then, and not of CBI. She has challenged the trial court order passed in 2016 and there is no explanation given for the delay of two years,” Goel said before the single-judge bench.
The trial court in 2016 had dismissed her 2015 application sent through post and termed it “unreliable”. In the application sent both to the High Court and the trial court in 2015, the victim had said, “The statement of the petitioner which was recorded by way of threatening and frightening, lowered the image of the respectable persons. The petitioner is cursing her life and is spiritually disturbed.”
The counsels representing the victim and accused during the hearing also told the bench that victim was a major and also married when the case was registered in the matter. The CBI has said the victim was a minor at the time when case was registered in 2006. In 2006, the alleged sex racket involving top ministers, bureaucrats and police officials from J&K had hit the limelight after the J&K Police had been approached by residents with a complaint and video that showed the victim nude.
The High Court, during the suo motu monitoring of the case, had later shifted the probe to CBI. The trial was also shifted outside the state in 2007 after the accused said the local lawyers have refused to represent them in the matter.
The trial in Chandigarh has witnessed one acquittal after another with the latest one last month. The accused ministers and a top bureaucrat of the state were acquitted by the Special CBI Court in 2012 while giving them a “benefit of doubt” in the judgment.