NEW DELHI: Sanji Ram, the main accused in the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Kathua told the Supreme Court that he was innocent and the probe should be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, to get to the "real culprits".
- Kathua rape accused move Supreme Court to have case transferred to CBI
- They say they are being framed, deny police charges
- Police chargesheet in the crime had sparked national outrage last month
The eight-year-old girl, kidnapped by a group to drive out her Bakerwal community in January, was kept sedated and gang-raped repeatedly for days before her head was bashed in. But it was only after the chilling details of the Kathua killing emerged over the past month that the brutality of the crime hit the country.
Last month, the outrage forced the government to include death as one of the penalties for raping children.
Two ministers in Mehbooba Mufti government also had to quit after they were seen to support demands for a CBI inquiry from the eight accused in this case. BJP leaders later said the two ministers had to pay for indiscretion but there was nothing wrong per se in demanding a CBI probe.
In their affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, Sanji Ram and his son Vishal repeated the request.
Sanji Ram said he was "like a grand-father" to the victim and had been framed by police officers biased against them. The affidavit said he not only wanted justice for the victim but "fair treatment" for the accused as well.
He also opposed the petition to transfer the trial against the eight accused to Chandigarh.
He insisted that there was no real reason to transfer the trial as there was no threat to the victim's family. Instead, he claimed that it was accused like him who had been threatened and the trial couldn't be shifted out on the basis of apprehension.
Sanji Ram also insisted that Deepika Singh Rajawat, who had approached the Supreme Court, was not a lawyer in the trial court and the security given to her should be removed.
Deepika S Rajawat had earlier spoken of a threat to her life.
"I don't know how long I will be alive. I can be raped...My modesty can be outraged. I can be killed, I can be damaged. I was threatened yesterday that 'we will not forgive you'. I am going to tell the Supreme Court tomorrow that I am in danger," Ms Rajawat said last month before the victim's father asked the top court to transfer the trial to Kathua.