Kathua verdict: Judge flags lacunae in probe as accused Vishal Jangotra gets away

In his 432-page judgment, district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh underlined big lacunae in investigation.

Published: 12th June 2019 03:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2019 08:56 AM   |  A+A-

Vishal Jangotra, one of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, was let off on benefit of doubt on 10 June 2019. (Photo | File, PTI)

Vishal Jangotra, one of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl, was let off on benefit of doubt on 10 June 2019. (Photo | File, PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Pointing out the loopholes in the prosecution’s theory in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case, the special court in Pathankot, which convicted six out of the seven accused on Monday, acquitted one — Vishal Jangotra, son of Sanjhi Ram — in the absence of enough evidence.

In his 432-page judgment, district and sessions judge Tejwinder Singh underlined big lacunae in the investigation.

“The prosecution has failed to discharge its burden by leading convincing evidence to the effect that the detailed evidence led by Vishal Jangotra on his plea of alibi is wrong or forged or fabricated. Jangotra’s plea of alibi has to be given due weightage. There is a big lacuna in the case of prosecution against Jangotra.”

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According to the prosecution, Jangotra was present in Kathua in January 2018, when the crime was committed, and also produced answer sheets which it claimed were written by some other student on his behalf. But the handwriting expert in his report said, “It has not been possible to express definite opinion regarding authorship of questioned items.”

The court then ruled, “It cannot be held that papers during examination of Vishal were not attempted by him and the arguments of the prosecution that these were attempted by somebody else cannot be believed.”

Prosecution to challenge acquittal

A day after the Pathankot court pronounced its verdict in the Kathua gang-rape and murder case, the Special Public Prosecutor said the prosecution would appeal in Punjab and Haryana High Court against the acquittal of one of the accused, deletion of conspiracy theory against three policemen and seek the death penalty to the three accused awarded life term.

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The SPP said the court acquitted Vishal on the basis of “fabricated and belated” alibi.

He said court wrote the three cops had conspired with the other accused. But in the order it ignored the conspiracy part and gave jail to them for destroying evidence”.

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