“We do not know how these bank accounts work. I signed some cheques at some point. Never thought it would be misused by my relative,” Yusuf, the biological father of the eight-year-old Kathua rape-murder victim, told The Quint from Jammu.
Between 10 and 17 January last year, Yusuf’s daughter was repeatedly sedated and raped, and sedated and raped again, before being killed in a Hindu prayer hall in Kathua town of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the chilling details in the charge sheet in April 2018, support poured in from all over and almost Rs 20 lakh was donated and transferred to their account.
However, between January and March this year, over Rs 10 lakh was surreptitiously withdrawn using fraudulent means. The cheques of the joint account held by Mohammad Yusuf and Mohammad Akhter, the 8-year-old’s adoptive and biological fathers respectively, were later misused by Aslam Khan to withdraw money.
“We have known Aslam Khan and his family for decades. He is also a Gujjar Bakarwal like us and would often travel to and fro from Kargil to Jammu together. We don’t know why he needed to cheat us like this,” he said, adding they managed to meet Khan a few days ago through an acquaintance and he promised to return the entire sum.
Half of the money withdrawn has been returned, Yusuf said. “Around five and a half lakh is still with him. We hear that he is in Kashmir currently as his mother is sick. He has our confidence though, we know he will return the money when he can,” Yusuf said.
Akhter however does not have the same belief. “I have my doubts about Khan returning the money and nor do I know anything about his mother being sick,” he told The Quint. The family does not want to take legal action against him though. “We are not initiating proceedings against him,” Yusuf said.
The trial in the rape-murder case was transferred out of Kathua to ensure a fair trial. It has ever since continued in Punjab’s Pathankot district.
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