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Jammu:

In the second hearing of Kathua rape and murder case, the Pathankot district and sessions court declared Parvesh Kumar, one of the rape accused in the rape and murder case of Aasifa, who claimed to be a juvenile, an adult.  Earlier, the district and session court had framed charges under various sections of the Ranbir Penal Code including 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 376-D (gang rape). The accused against whom charges were framed were Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, special police officers Deepak Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Verma, Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, head Constable Tilak Raj, and sub inspector Arvind Datta.

According to the special public prosecutor J K Chopra, the court checked all the medical reports of the accused in the rape and murder case of a nomad (Bakarwal) girl Aasifa who claimed to be a juvenile. The reports asserted that his age was more than 20 years.

The district and session court judge Tejwinder Singh rejected the plea of the defense counsel and said that the accused Parvesh Kumar alias “Mannu” would be treated as an adult. The counsel of Parvesh Kumar, A K Sawhney, said in a statement said that they would challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court.

The district and sessions judge had issued directions to the crime branch to conduct a bone ossification test to ascertain the age of Kumar, one of the eight accused in the brutal rape-and-murder case.

When the public persecutor J K Chopra was asked about the doctors opinion regarding the accused, he had said that the medical opinion suggested that his age was more than 20. However, the fate of the other accused, who also claims to be a juvenile, is yet to be decided as the decision is pending before the high court of Jammu and Kashmir after the crime branch moved an application urging him to be treated as an adult.

In this regard, the court had ordered for the test after the defense counsel moved an application in the first week of June requesting him to be treated as a minor by considering his matriculation certificate.

The crime branch had constituted a team of doctors, comprising medicos from various streams including the radiology department, and the accused was examined on June 22 and 23. The court had then directed Senior Superintendent of Police R K Jalla to supervise the medical examination and submit the report when the court reopens after a 16-day summer break. While seven of the accused, including Kumar, are facing trial in the court here on the directions of the Supreme Court, the eighth accused in the case is facing trial at a juvenile court in Kathua district

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