The Men Accused In Asifa's Rape And Murder, And The Evidence Against Them

Sanji Ram is accused of planning the rape and murder of the 8-year-old girl in Kathua.

Srinagar:  Eight men accused in the gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl have seized the attention of millions as rage courses through India at the horror of what the little girl suffered. The crime was planned by a former revenue officer who wanted to drive out her nomadic community of Bakerwals out of the Rassana area of Kathua.

On January 10, the little girl in a purple dress, was grazing her horses near her one-room home when one of the accused, a 19-year-old, called her into the forest pretending to help look for a missing horse. The horse returned without her.

The police say the man dragged her to a small village temple and drugged her. For three days, the man and two others gang-raped her repeatedly, keeping her sedated and without food. Before she was strangled and hit twice with a heavy rock for good measure, one of the men stopped the killer to rape her one last time.

The girl's body was found in the forests on January 17.

Investigations led the police to the 19-year-old school dropout who had often seen the girl grazing horses, and to his uncle Sanji Ram, who was in charge of the temple where police found forensic evidence.

The teen had first claimed to be 15 but medical tests confirm he is not underage. He has confessed, say the police, and his DNA matches the hair found on the child's body.

Sanji Ram is accused No. 2. The former government official allegedly planned the depraved crime and even kept side a huge amount of money for bribes. He was arrested after the teen's confession, forensic tests and based on the interrogation of various suspects.

The man who allegedly wanted to rape the girl one more time before she was killed is Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria, according to the police chargesheet.

He was named in the teen's statement to the police. Call data records also established his presence at the place where she was kept locked in for days.

The fourth accused is another Special Police Officer, Surinder Kumar. Witnesses saw him at the crime scene. Call data records also prove his presence.

The teen named his friend Parvesh Kumar, who is the fifth accused. He was one of the men who repeatedly raped the child.

Sanji Ram's son Vishal Jangotra was arrested on the basis of forensic tests. Vishal, studying in Meerut, travelled to Kathua after a phone-call from the teen who said he could "satisfy his lust", the police chargesheet says.

Two more accused are policemen who knew of the horrific crime and tried their best to cover it up for a huge bribe.

The chargesheet says sub-inspector Anand Dutta and head constable Tilak Raj didn't collect vital evidence and washed the girl's dress to help the accused.