Tribune News Service
Pathankot, June 13
Two defence counsels on Wednesday sought a stay in proceedings in the Kathua gang rape and murder case till the age of one of the accused is ascertained.
Defence lawyers Ankur Sharma and Chandan Sharma earlier moved an application asking District and Sessions Judge Dr Tejwinder Singh to declare accused Parvesh Kumar, alias Mannu, a juvenile. The judge has already directed the J&K SSP (crime branch) to get the accused medically examined from the Jammu medical college to determine his exact age.
Reacting to the application of the defence lawyers, the judge asked Special Public Prosecutors (SPP) Santokh Singh Basra and JK Chopra to file their reply on Thursday. Basra had asked the court to try Parvesh Kumar as a major.
He said the prosecution would challenge the defence application on Thursday on the plea that “the trial in no case can be stayed because the Supreme Court has ordered that the proceedings should be held on a day-to-day basis”.
Today, the cross-examination of prosecution witness head constable Sham Lal was held by the defence counsels. SPP Basra has already concluded his examination-in-chief of Sham Lal.
Meanwhile, SPP Chopra has moved an application to the Punjab ADGP (crime), IG (Border) and the Pathankot SSP asking for security. However, SSP Vivek Sheel Soni contended that providing security is the responsibility of the J&K Police. The Supreme Court has ordered that the J&K Government should provide adequate security to the advocates, accused, witnesses and family members of the minor girl.
To this, Chopra said if the Punjab Police could provide security to the judge, then it should provide security to him too keeping in view the “sensitivity of the case”.
Dr Tejwinder Singh has also sought that his security be enhanced following which the IG, RAW, and the IB would be deciding his request on June 15 at a meeting to be held among senior officers of these agencies.