The Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma, who is a counsel of the accused in the Kathua rape and murder case on Tuesday questioned police’s probe and said that it was beyond the ‘intelligence’ of a woman to work on the case.Shwetambri Sharma is the lone woman officer in the Special Investigative Team (SIT) of the Crime Branch of the Jammu and Kashmir Police that investigated the rape and murder of the eight-year-old.Speaking to News18, Ankur Sharma said that since she is a ‘woman and a new officer, she was misguided by someone’ and claimed that the investigation was botched up as witnesses were tortured to extract favourable statements.“Around 40 to 50 people have said that they have been tortured by the crime branch to give favourable statements,” claimed the lawyer.Earlier, speaking to a news website, Deputy Superintendent Shwetambri Sharma had said that the accused also tried to influence her “As most of the accused were Brahmins, they over-emphasised their surnames. They particularly tried to influence me and communicated through different means that we belonged to one religion and one caste and I must not hold them guilty of the rape and murder of a Muslim girl. I told them that as an officer of the J&K Police, I had no religion and my only religion was my police uniform,” she told the Quint.On Monday, the eight people accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old girl pleaded not guilty and asked the judge for a narco analysis test as the trial into the case, which has become the focal point of outrage across the country, began.The eighth accused is a juvenile who moved a bail application before the chief judicial magistrate. The matter was posted for April 26. According to the chargesheets filed by the Crime Branch, the abduction, rape and killing of the girl was part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the nomadic community from the area. A separate chargesheet was filed for the juvenile.Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the ‘devisthan’ (temple) in the village in Kathua, about 90 km from Jammu, is listed as the main conspirator behind the crime, told the judge that they wanted narco analysis test and were ready for it. The chargesheet also names the investigating officers — head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta — who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence.

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Kathua rape case: Beyond her ‘intelligence’ to work on this case, says defence lawyer on woman investigator