Kathua Rape Case: Convicted For Destroying Evidence, Police Officer Bailed Out After Court Suspends Sentence

SRINAGAR: Anand Dutta one of the six accused who were convicted in the Kathua rape case of 2018 has been granted bail by Punjab & Haryana High Court, reported BarandBench.

Anand Dutta one of the convicts in the Kathua rape and murder case

According to the report, a Bench of Justices Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Vinod S Bhardwaj suspended the remaining sentence of Dutta, and ordered that he be released on bail on furnishing personal/ surety bonds.

“Prayer made in the instant application is accepted and the remaining sentence of the applicant/appellant-Anand Dutta is suspended during the pendency of the appeal. The applicant/appellant-Anand Dutta is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing personal/surety bonds to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate concerned,” BarandBench quoted the order as having said.

The Kathua case dates back to January 2018 when an 8-year-old girl from the nomadic Bakarwal community was gang-raped by a temple priest and others, in the Rasana village near Kathua in Jammu & Kashmir.

Six of the seven accused in the case were convicted by Sessions Judge, Pathankot.

Dutta who was a sub-inspector with the police, was the Station House Officer (SHO) when the incident took place.

He was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) read with Sections 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

The Rasana Tragedy

He was sentenced to 5 years rigorous imprisonment.

The present plea was filed seeking suspension of sentence during the pendency of his appeal.

The counsel appearing on behalf of the accused contended that he was falsely implicated in the case and that the allegations levelled by the prosecution were not corroborated by any material particulars.

It was also submitted that the accused was only officiating SHO only on January 11, 2018 and the regular SHO returned from leave on January 12, 2018. The investigation was conducted under the Deputy Superintendent of Police and thereafter under the second special investigation team headed by the Additional Superintendent of Police, it was pointed out.

It was also contended that there was no occasion for destruction of any evidence and that the testimony of the witnesses gets washed away in cross-examination.

The counsel further pointed out that the accused has undergone more than half of the substantive sentence awarded to him and that sentence of the co-accused Tilak Raj was earlier suspended by the High Court on December 16, 2021.

Senior Counsel RS Cheema, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, opposed the plea on the ground that the crime is heinous in nature and that the applicant/appellant being a member of police force collaborated with the accused persons to perpetuate injustice.

It was further submitted that the applicant is a resident of the vicinity of the victim and that his presence is likely to spark reaction from the family of the victim and also that of the community, in general, leading to the possibility of severe law and order problems.

After examining the rival contentions, the accused has undergone an actual sentence of 2 years 7 months and 3 days against the total awarded sentence of 5 years. Besides, it also noted that he has availed parole for a period of 11 months and 14 days.

“There is no instance that the applicant/appellant has either misused the concession of parole so granted or that any untoward incident had taken place during the period of parole so as to corroborate the apprehension raised by the learned counsel appearing for the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” according to report the Court said.

It opined that the rights vested in an accused under Article 21 need to be balanced and proceeded to suspend the sentence while ordering his release on bail.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here