SPO arrested in Kathua rape and murder case
In a major breakthrough, Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch of police have arrested a 28-year-old SPO in connection with the ‘rape’and murder of Kathua nomad girl Asifa Bano. Top sources in the government told news agency GNS that the SIT arrested the man, Deepak Khajuria (28) of Hiranagar in the case (FIR No: 10/2018 U/S 363, 320, 302 RPC). “The SIT has collected solid evidence which proves his involvement in the crime,” they said. Police have added section 376 against the Deepak Khujaria, a special police officer (SPO). The FIR was registered following the ‘rape’-and murder of the 8-year-old girl Asifa Bano of Rasana Mohara, Hiranagar, Kathua. Asifa was abducted on Jan 10 and her body was found on January 17. Additional Director General Crime Branch, Alok Puri, when contacted told GNS that there is clinching evidence against Deepak and further investigations are underway. He also revealed that medical report has come and it has confirmed that the girl was raped before murder. Sources said that Deepak Khujaria part of the police team that searched for the body of the girl. The police came in for severe criticism for its lack of concern when the victim’s family had approached it with a complaint about her disappearance nearly two weeks ago. Subsequent, the government assigned the case to Crime branch Kashmir of the police. The girl’s ‘rape’ and murder has been rocking the assembly since the day after the dead body was found on Jan 17, and members questioned the police for rounding up only one suspect. The police had constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder and said that it has arrested one 15-year-old boy who, according to it, had confessed to having killed the girl. His identity has not been disclosed due to the restrictions imposed by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, the police had said. Members had asked how a minor alone could have carried the body to a hiding place after committing the murder. Opposition members had alleged that the police was trying to save others who had helped the accused minor, and was trying to hush the matter up. The incident sent shock waves across the state with calls for strict action against those who carried the ghastly act. On Friday, responding to the calling attention notice moved by M Y Tarigami in the legislative assembly seeking the status of the investigation into “rape and ghastly murder” of the girl, Minister for Revenue, Hajj and Auqaf and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri said that strict action will be taken against the culprits. “The requisite steps are being taken for collection of evidence connected with the crime and criminal to finalize the case,” he added.