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Posted at: Jul 12, 2018, 12:31 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2018, 12:31 AM (IST)KATHUA CASE

Accused shifted to Gurdaspur jail

Special Public Prosecutors to be provided security by J&K Police, not by Punjab cops

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 11

Pathankot District and Sessions judge Dr Tejwinder Singh on Wednesday directed that all seven accused in the Kathua rape and murder case be shifted to the Gurdaspur central jail following a Supreme Court directive. Gurdaspur is 35 km from Pathankot.

There was a flurry of activity both outside and within the jail when the accused arrived in a J&K police bus at 5.45 pm.

The judge on Wednesday summoned Pathankot SSP Vivek Sheel Soni and directed him to personally supervise the shifting, keeping in view the sensitivity of the case.

Immediately after the court proceedings were over, Soni despatched a contingent of the Pathankot police to escort the accused to the Gurdaspur jail.

The order comes as a surprise to many because the Gurdaspur central jail authorities had pleaded their inability to house the accused, saying the prison was overcrowded. At present, the jail houses 1,007 inmates against the sanctioned strength of 850.

However, Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said all arrangements had been made.

“The Supreme Court order was brought to my notice, after which I instructed Jail Superintendent Karamjit Singh Sandhu to make proper arrangements for the safety of the accused. There will be no room for lapse of any kind,” said Randhawa.

Sandhu, however, refused to comment. He said he was awaiting instructions from Chandigarh on the barracks to be assigned and the nature of security to be provided to the accused.

Meanwhile, both Special Public Prosecutors Santokh Singh Basra and JK Chopra will be provided security by the J&K Police and not the Punjab Police.

Meanwhile, both the defence and the prosecution concluded the examination-in-chief and the cross-examination of prosecution witness Manzoor Ahmad, who in his capacity as a revenue official, had drawn a map of the site of the crime.

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