During the trial of the case on Monday, 16 July, head constable Surinder Pal accused sub inspector Anand Dutta of not depositing the clothes of the eight-year-old victim, who was abducted, held prisoner in a religious place, repeatedly raped and brutally murdered in January this year.
After nationwide uproar, two senior ministers of the then ruling PDP-BJP coalition had to resign for participating in a rally in favour of the accused. During his deposition, Pal said that Dutta had brought a hair band, dupatta (long scarf), and shoes of the deceased to the Hiranagar police station on 18 January but did not deposit it in the maikhana or the warehouse, violating the procedure.
Pal further alleged that Dutta intimidated him and submitted “concocted” evidence the next day, said The Economic Times report.
Pal said, on 19 January, Dutta had brought three more things to the police station– ash, astone, and a lock and key.
The investigating agency, Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir said Dutta tried to mislead the investigation by trying to tamper with the evidence and disprove the theory that the victim girl was kept in a devasthan (temple). Dutta had claimed that the girl was kept in a cowshed near the temple.
According to the daily, Dutta had prepared four packets containing evidence of the crime and had labelled them ‘A’, ‘B’,’C’ and ‘D’.
There was blood stained clay retrieved from the place where the girl’s dead body was found in packet A, while Packet B had clay samples and packet C contained swabs recovered from the body. Packet D was supposed to have blood-soiled clothes of the deceased.
The Crime branch says Dutta never deposited Packet D and instead washed off the blood and the clay from the deceased’s dress with the help of a head constable Tikal Raj, adding that Raj is also a co-accused in the case now, according to The Economic Times.
The clay on the dress and the clay recovered from the ground where the dead body was found were sent for examination to the forensic Science Laboratory (FS) and the results showed that the two did not match.
Hair Strand Used Up During DNA Test
According to a report in The Print, the question of disappearance of the victim’s hair strand has now been clarified. Director of Forensic Science Laboratory has informed that the hair strand could have been used up for DNA test.
“Extracting the DNA out of a biological sample is always a destructive process,” a lab official told The Print.
The controversy erupted as the envelope that was supposed to contain a hair strand of the eight-year-old turned out to be empty when it was opened in front of the court on Monday.
Meanwhile, the lawyer who was representing the accused in the case, Aseem Sawhney, has been appointed as the additional advocate general for the Jammu wing of the High Court, reported Scroll.
(With inputs from The Economic Times, The Print and Scroll)