Kathua rape and murder case: Crime Branch arrests one cop, detains other for destroying evidence

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New Delhi: The Crime Branch investigating the gruesome rape and murder of a minor girl of Kathua, have arrested a head constable and detained sub inspector for questioned.

The arrest comes after a day it came to fore that how the police had initially botched up the probe by destroying crucial evidence. 

Hawaldar Tilak Raj, posted at the Hiranagar police station, was arrested after it was prima facie established that he had washed Asifa’s clothes that were soaked in blood and mud before sending them for forensic test. Sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who was the investigative officer, has been detained for questioning, reported the NDTV.

“We arrested a hawaldar and a sub-inspector is being questioned in connection with destruction of evidence” said SP Vaid, the director general of police.

Two special police officers, Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Verma, have already been arrested. Two more persons, including a juvenile, have also been arrested for the kidnapping, rape and murder of the minor girl.

Police sources say the crime was carried out with a view to driving out Muslim nomads from the Hindu-dominated village. They claim that call details and mobile tower data place the accused on the location of crime, adding that there is evidence that drugs used to sedate Asifa was bought by Deepak Khajuria from a medicine shop in Kathua days before Asifa was kidnapped.

There is stiff resistance to the crime branch probe by the Hindu Ekta Manch which is spearheading protests in Kathua. The group has rallied against what it calls wrongful arrests. Two BJP ministers in the state have backed the group. They have also demanded that the case should be handed over to the CBI.

After facing a lot of flak after the two ministers took part in the rally, the BJP said that the demand for a CBI probe is the peoples’ demand no theirs.

BJP State General Secretary Ashok Koul blamed the National Conference and Congress for ‘communalizing’ the incident. “Some people of BJP get provoked and fall in trap of the NC and Congress ,” Koul said.

He clarified that BJP was not demanding that case should be referred to the CBI.

“Our leaders went in the rally because we have to face people there. People want CBI probe and it is not the demand of the BJP,” he said.

On January 17, body of minor girl was found in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar. The girl had been missing for a week. According to police, she had been abducted and raped by an SPO Deepak Khajuria, who was a part of the team sent out find her when she was missing.

The investigation of the Crime Branch further revealed that she had been drugged so that she couldn’t cry for help.

On January 23, the Mehbooba Mufti government had ordered a probe into the incident, and subsequently handed over the case to the Crime Branch of police. Several people including two policemen have been arrested so far for involvement in the crime.

However, Hindu Ekta Manch has been protesting in support of the arrested policeman, demanding transfer of the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.The Chief Minister has already condemned the rallies being held by Hindu Ekta March and also said that raising the tricolour in such rallies amounts to desecration.

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