Kathua rape-murder case: Defence opposes appearance of Punjab district attorney

Advocate A K Sawhney moved a formal application on Saturday to oppose the appearance of Pathankot district attorney J K Chopra. The defence has argued that he cannot be allowed at the in-camera trial.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 3, 2018 3:53:55 am
Kathua rape-murder case: Defence opposes appearance of Punjab district attorney The in-camera trial will resume at 1.30 pm on Monday.

Three days after the trial in the Kathua rape-murder case began at Pathankot Judicial Court complex in Punjab, the prosecution on Saturday completed its arguments on the framing of charges against seven accused. The defence counsel, meanwhile, opposed the appearance of a Punjab district attorney on the side of the J&K Police’s Crime Branch.

The in-camera trial will resume at 1.30 pm on Monday, and District and Sessions judge Dr Tejinder Singh is likely to take a decision regarding the transfer of the accused to Pathankot prison from Kathua on the day.

A notice has already been issued to the Punjab government for its response on the application moved by the prosecution to keep the accused in Pathankot during the pendency of the plea.

The defence counsel will begin their arguments on Monday. The prosecution is expected to give translated copies of all the case-related documents that day.

Advocate A K Sawhney moved a formal application on Saturday to oppose the appearance of Pathankot district attorney J K Chopra, who was said to be assisting Special Public Prosecutor Santokh Singh Basra in the case.

The defence has argued that he cannot be allowed at the in-camera trial and that he does not have any authorisation to appear in the case. Basra has been specially appointed for the case by J&K government.

Read | Delhi HC questions scientific basis of death penalty for child rape

Sources said the J&K government had earlier written to the Punjab government and requested assistance for a room, a peon and other infrastructure in Pathankot district during the pendency of the case in Punjab. The Punjab government is learnt to have told Chopra to extend assistance to the prosecution counsel of J&K Crime Branch.

The sessions court sought a response from Chopra on the application moved by defence against his appearance in the case.

The trial was transferred to Pathankot from Kathua on the orders of Supreme Court on May 7. The eight accused in the case are former revenue official Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, Parvesh Kumar, Ram’s son Vishal Jangotra and a juvenile, who is nephew of Ram. Two police officers – Head Constable Tilak Raj and Sub-Inspector Anand Dutt — are accused of destroying crucial evidence in the case.

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