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'She Is a Woman, How Intelligent Can She Be?' Kathua Defence Lawyer on Woman Investigator

This comes after several reports talked of the hurdles faced by Shwetambri Sharma, the lone woman officer in the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:April 19, 2018, 10:13 PM IST
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'She Is a Woman, How Intelligent Can She Be?' Kathua Defence Lawyer on Woman Investigator
Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma is appearing for five out of the eight accused in the Kathua rape case.
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New Delhi: The defence counsel in Kathua rape case has raised further questions on the Jammu and Kashmir Police's probe into the brutal rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, saying the investigation was led by a woman officer and that it was beyond her "intelligence" to work on this case.

Jammu-based advocate, Ankur Sharma who is appearing for five out of the eight accused in the case, told News18 that since she is a "woman and a new officer, she was misguided by someone".

This comes after several reports talked of the hurdles faced by Shwetambri Sharma, the lone woman officer in the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch.

Sharma who investigated the rape and murder of the Bakerwal girl recently spoke on the hurdles she faced while uncovering the gory details of the minor's abduction, rape and subsequent death.

The January incident shook the collective consciousness of the nation three months later when the police finally filed its chargesheet detailing the conspiracy and unfolding of the crime.

On Tuesday, Sharma took to a new low and said, "Shwetambri kya hai, ladki hai. Uska kitna hi dimaag hoga (What is Shwetambri, she is a girl, how intelligent can she be?) She is a new officer and by showing her a few circumstantial evidences, some people made her believe that the crime has been committed in this fashion."

However, later on Thursday Sharma denied these comments and said that he was misquoted.

The lawyer further added to his statement on Tuesday that the police officers and bureaucrats are just "mere puppets". "If she faced so many hurdles, why didn't she inform her superiors about it?" asked the lawyer.

Sharma has also claimed that the entire investigation by the Crime Branch was botched up as witnesses were tortured to extract favourable statements.

“All witnesses examined by the Crime Branch have stated that they were tortured by the police and were always told what to say and what not to say. Around 40 to 50 people have said that they have been tortured by the crime branch to give favourable statements,” said the lawyer.

Explaining his stand that witnesses were being tortured, Sharma said that the initial version of the Crime Branch was that accused Vishal Jangotra, who was in Meerut along with his friends, had given his phone to three of his friends so that the tower location could not be detected. The Crime Branch had said that these friends would mark Vishal’s attendance in college while he was in Kathua, taking part in the rape and murder.

“These three friends of Jangotra were continuously tortured by the police for close to 10-15 days and a confession was forced. But when they gave their statement under Section 164A of the Criminal Procedure Code in front of the judicial magistrate, they narrated a detailed scenario of how they were tortured. They also said that Vishal was in Meerut appearing for his examinations. The students said that they were together even during Lohri. They also gave details of an ATM they visited so that the CCTV footage from there can establish that Vishal was not in Kathua. This all was stated in front of the magistrate,” said Sharma.

The eight-year-old went missing on January 10 from near her residence in Rasana village of Hiranagar in Jammu’s Kathua district. After the police failed to recover her amid allegations of kidnapping, which rattled a session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, she was found dead on January 17.

The abduction, rape and killing of the Bakerwal girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, revealed the 15-page chargesheet filed by the J&K Police’s Crime Branch in the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court.

It lists the caretaker of the Devisthan, a small temple, in Rasana village in Kathua, as the main conspirator behind the abduction, rape and killing.

Sanji Ram was allegedly joined by special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma, friend Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Ram’s nephew, a juvenile, and his son Vishal Jangotra alias “Shamma” in committing the crime.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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