Witness against one of the accused in Kathua rape case retracts his statement, might be charged with perjury

Ajay Kumar alias 'Ajju' had previously recorded his statement before a judicial magistrate in Jammu on February 27 this year

The Jammu and Kashmir crime branch has decided to charge a witness with perjury charges after he retracted from a “confessional statement” recorded in front of a magistrate in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.

According to the reports, the sessions judge of Pathankot, Tejwinder Singh has issued a show-cause notice to Ajay Kumar alias ‘Ajju’ asking him to explain on “why an action under section 479-B of Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Procedure Code may not be initiated against him”. Section 479-B provides a summary procedure for trial of witnesses deposing contrary to statements recorded under Section 164-A (evidence of material witnesses to be recorded by Magistrate in certain cases).

Reportedly, Ajay Kumar alias ‘Ajju’ had previously recorded his statement before a judicial magistrate in Jammu on February 27 this year in which he had claimed that Parvesh Kumar alias ‘Mannu’ had given a graphical description about the rape and subsequent murder of the girl belonging to a nomadic minority community.

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He has been asked to appear before the court in person or be represented by a counsel on November 12. The trial was transferred to the district and sessions court in Pathankot by the Supreme Court after the victim’s family approached with a plea to transfer the case from Kathua.

The eight-year-old girl belonging to the Bakarwal community was allegedly kidnapped on January 10, after which she was allegedly gang-raped and murdered. Her body was found on January 17 after which the crime branch had arrested eight people, including a juvenile in the case.

After the incident, taking an advantage of the situation, few ‘activists’ and some members of the JNUSU including Shehla Rashid collected lakhs of rupees in the name of the victim. Later, media reports suggested that though lakhs of rupees were collected in the name of helping the family, the funds never reached them.

We had earlier reported that a leaked audio tape had emerged which suggested that the huge sum of funds collected in the name of the victims’ family never actually reached them. In the tape, two people are supposedly heard discussing how “huge funds” were collected in the rape victim’s name, which never made its way to the family.

Shehla Rashid went on to deny the allegations and had stated that the money was delayed because the family did not have a joint bank account and PAN. Interestingly, one of the main activists of the campaign, Talib Hussain, was arrested on rape charges and illegal possession of a weapon.

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