For Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police, the Rassana rape and murder case ought to have been an open and shut case after presentation of the charge-sheet in a designated court of law-open in the sense that the case is now under judicial scrutiny and shut as far as investigations are concerned. But why is it so that instead of leaving the fate of the case to judicial dispensation, the police is desperately trying to keep it alive in the public domain? The police is not supposed to enter into arguments and counter arguments on contrarian views, essentially on social media, but its focus has to be to establish the charge-sheet by facts and substantial proof in order to deliver justice to the victim.
Even as the accused in the rape and murder case were deprived of the copies of the charge-sheet on day-one, its contents went viral the world over the same evening. This unleashed a widespread intellectual, journalistic and even public trial with everyone digging flaws and loopholes in his or her own right. Nothing abnormal! This happens in every sensational criminal case-Nanavati and Arushi murder cases being the glaring examples of the past and the present. However, the public discourse now has become more intense and instant due to advent of social media. The inquisitive minds are asking questions, which again is a normal phenomenon, given the contours of the case that transcended continents and drew international attention almost overnight. The abnormal part of the story is the intriguing role of Jammu and Kashmir Police, which has perhaps decided to fight the case on judicial as well as public fronts. This must not have happened heretofore.
On Saturday, the 20th April 2018, Zonal Headquarters, Crime Branch, Jammu came out with a press release stating, “Over a period of time, Press/Electronic Media and Social Media has been sharing information with regard to the case FIR No. 10/2018 dated January 12, 2018 registered in Police Station, Hiranagar Kathua. After completion of all legal formalities of investigation, a charge-sheet was produced in the competent court of law and investigating agency is in the process of submitting supplementary charge-sheet. However, for the last couple of days, a section of print/ electronic media has published /broadcast information/reports shared on social media sites as well, which are far away from truth. Constrained by this reportage, it is to place on record that on the strength of opinion furnished by medical experts, it has been confirmed that the victim was found subjected to sexual assault by the accused. The medical expert has also opined that hymen of the victim was not found intact. Accordingly, on the basis of medical opinion, Section 376 (D) RPC was added in the case. In addition to this, medical opinion has established beyond doubt that the victim was held in captivity and administered sedatives and her cause of death was asphyxia leading to cardio pulmonary arrest”.
Why the Crime Branch felt constrained to give currency to a particular and particular narrative in the public domain instead of restricting itself confined to proving its charge-sheet in the court of law? The matter is sub-judice and it is the judge, who has to decide the case on merits, not the people. If people were to pronounce the decision, the Crime Branch has every reason to find itself in the dock. The people, especially a section of media, have already trashed the charge-sheet as a document of flaws. If at all the investigation agency needed to prove itself holier than the cow, there were several other issues that needed explanation, like the copy of Srinagar FSL Report No 41-Bio-Ser(not legible) Date January 30, 2018, stating, inter-allia 1. One sealed plastic container:- On opening was found to contain one small packet enclosed within adhesive tape containing four glass slides allegedly smeared with vaginal secretion, which were collectively marked as Exhibit No M-01/2018 in the laboratory.
The above sealed plastic container was opened in my presence and the contents of the exhibits remained under my immediate custody until the examination was completed. RESULT: ‘NO SPERMATOZOA WERE DETECTED ON THE EXHIBIT NO M-01/2108″. Examined by: Signatures of the Scientific Officer. The copy is under circulation on the social media and authenticity of its contents can’t be vouched. Instead of finding the source of this communication on the social-media and to comment over its contents being correct or incorrect, the Crime Branch rushed out of turn to feed its narrative to the people, notwithstanding the case being sub-judice.
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