Jammu & Kashmir, July 9: In a major development in the Kathua gangrape and murder case, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to provide security to the Special Public Prosecutor. The Apex Court also ordered a transfer of accused in the case from Kathua district jail to Gurdaspur district jail in Punjab citing exceptional circumstances, DNA reported. Furthermore, the J&K police was ordered to file a supplementary charge-sheet in the case within eight weeks. Also Read - 'Ensure Complete Compliance', Supreme Court Grants One More Month to Govt For Giving Permanent Commission To Women Officers in Army

In January, an eight-year-old girl was abducted, sedated, gangraped and then murdered in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. Her body was recovered from a forest on January 17, a week after she had gone missing while grazing horses in the forest area. According to the charge sheet, the underage accused, a school dropout, had lured the girl to a desolate place on the false pretext of helping her in finding her missing horses, held her captive at ‘devisthan’ where she was drugged and allegedly raped by him, Vishal and SPO on different occasions before being brutally killed. The ‘horrific’ incident of child jolted the country leading to massive protests.

Earlier on July 5, the Pathankot district and sessions court ruled on Thursday that the accused who claimed to be a juvenile will be tried as an adult. A medical test had found that the accused was aged over 20. Rejecting the plea of Defence counsel, District and Sessions Judge Tajwinder Singh said the accused, Parvesh Kumar alias ‘Mannu’, will be treated as an adult. The medical report was submitted before the court earlier this week by the Jammu and Kashmir police’s crime branch after it resumed post-summer break.

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 of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir in January.

Special Public Prosecutor J K Chopra said the court has declined Kumar’s application and declared the accused as a ‘major’.  While Kumar’s counsel A K Sawhney told reporters outside the court that they would be challenging the verdict of the trial court in the Supreme Court soon.

“The fate of another accused, who has claimed to be a juvenile, is yet to be decided as the matter was pending before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court after the crime branch moved an application urging him to be treated as an adult based on his medical reports.