‘We Didn’t Do It?’ say Three Men Accused in Soujanya Murder Case
Mangaluru: Tit-for-tat! In response to all the accusations put forth by Soujanya’s parents and other activists on them, the three wrongly accused men namely Dheeraj ‘Kella’ Jain (a small business owner), Mallik Jain (employed with Dharmasthala Kshethra) and Uday Jain (a auto-rickshaw owner/driver) held a press meet for the FIRST time at Mangalore Press Club since the murder of teenage girl Soujanya on September 9, 2012.
Addressing the media persons, Dheeraj said, “We have come here to clarify the accusations made against three of us pertaining to Soujanya’s murder. We have been wrongly portrayed in this incident, where we have nothing to do with it. We were all working on the day Soujanya was killed, and we have all the proof, which we have produced to the COD and CBI officials when they sleuth us during the investigation. Unnecessarily blaming us three in this murder case is not right, since we are innocent and have 100% not committed the crime as accused by Soujanya’s parents and others”
L-R : Dheeraj ‘Kella’ Jain, Mallik Jain and Uday Jain
“People have been spreading wrong information about us. Regarding Santhosh Rao of Kukkundur village in Karkala taluk who the police have caught suspecting him as Soujanya’s murderer, but we didn’t produce him to the police as publicized by people and media. Frankly speaking, on that day, Santhosh Rao, whom they say is differently-abled was sitting at one of the door of Dharmasthala Temple- when Mallik Jain who was doing his regular duties of locking the door noticed Rao sitting on the doorsteps – and he requested Santhosh to go away from there. Instead of slowly walking away from the spot, Santhosh decided to run, who was noticed by the public and suspecting him as Soujanya’s killer apprehended him and handed him over to the cops. We had nothing to do with Santhosh’s arrest” added Dheeraj.
He further said, “There has been also rumours and false news published that we were not thoroughly investigated by the Cops, COD and CBI, which is not right. We were thoroughly investigated, also subjected to polygraph test etc. The copy of the test was requested by us, and we have forwarded it to you for your kind perusal. With what evidence or proof we were accused as the killers very much surprises us and also hurts us. Two of us here are married and fathers of two girls each- and we have great respect for women and girls. We wouldn’t even think of killing an innocent young girl. We feel pity for Soujanya’s parents, her relatives and friends. Please don’t accuse us directly in Soujanya’s murder”.
When asked by one journo as to why finally they had decided to have a press meet after such a long time, the answer from Dheeraj was that, since we were not involved in this case, our lawyer insisted that we stay away from having any press meet and that he would handle the case and do the needful. But even after the CBI has cleared us from this murder case, we have been still haunted by false rumors and accusations, so we decided to have this press meet to bring to the notice of the media and public that we are innocent, and we are ready in future to face any investigation or whatsoever regarding this case, since we are innocent and also confident that we will come out clean in this incident, said Dheeraj.
In the meantime, during a press meet held by Soujanya’s parents along with activists, it was learnt that an order of the 50th additional city civil and sessions court, Bengaluru, on February 7 has rekindled hopes of Chandappa Gowda and Kusumavathi, parents of Soujanya. Making clear its displeasure at the manner in which CBI was investigating the rape and murder of Soujanya, the court – designated special CBI court directed the investigating agency to take this matter on priority and conduct further investigations and submit the report by April 24. Soujanya was found murdered on September 9, 2012.
It was also revealed that Judge B S Rekha cited powers to order a further investigation as provided under Section 178 (3) of CrPC (citation report between Hasanbhai Valighai Qureshi versus the state of Gujarat and others – AIR 2004 SC 2078). “CBI has to probe into the matter and conduct a fair/proper investigation by considering all observations made in the order and also by examining proper witnesses and documents and relevant CDRs of persons against whom allegations are made,” said Soujanya’s mother.
Also speaking during the press meet yesterday, Vishnu Murthy Bhat, the social activist said, “The special CBI court’s order will certainly restore the faith of people in the judiciary that justice will be provided to the aggrieved parents. There was a concerted attempt right from the beginning by the DK district police first under the then superintendent of police Abhishek Goyal, followed by CID and CBI subsequently to derail the process of investigation due to pressure from certain quarters in Dharmasthala. This will be addressed now”.
Recalling with anguish the last time she saw her daughter alive, Kusumavathi said she has not given up hope that the perpetrators of her daughter’s untimely death will go unpunished. “We had specifically wanted the investigations to focus on the role of Dheeraj Jain, Mallik Jain and Uday Jain in the death of Soujanya and this is what the court has upheld,” she said adding the deadline imposed on CBI to submit the report should result in a meaningful investigation.
Maintaining that Santhosh Rao of Kukkundur village in Karkala taluk shown by police as the sole perpetrator of the heinous crime is innocent, Soujanya’s father, Chandappa Gowda said, “We are happy with the direction given by the court. We are also happy that CBI will now have to investigate the people – Dheeraj Jain, Mallik Jain and Uday Jain whom we are certain are responsible for the death of our daughter,” he said adding he is looking forward to how the investigating agency goes ahead.
Seems like once again the Soujanya’s murder case will be in the news constantly, until a proper judgement is made, and justice is served to Soujanya’s parents and family relatives and friends.