Odishatv Bureau

Nayagarh: In a sensational twist to the Nayagarh minor girl abduction and murder case, the POCSO court hearing the case on Tuesday termed that the prime accused who has been arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), is a minor.

The court pronounced this based on evidence provided by the accused's counsel. As per reports, the counsel submitted before the court the accused's birth certificate and matriculation certificate, which pointed out that he hadn't attained the age of 18 when the crime was reported.

And now because it is proved that the accused is a minor, the court has also rejected SIT's petition which had sought conduct of narco-analysis test on him. However, it has held that the Narco test appeal has been sent to Juvenile Justice Board. The hearing on the plea is scheduled for January 8.

Meanwhile, an official of SIT said the JJB would conduct an enquiry as per the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, to determine the age of the accused. Similarly, the committee would decide whether the accused will be tried in Juvenile Justice Court or Children's Court.

After the Nirbhaya case, the amended act notes that a minor between the age of 16-18 shall be tried as an adult in the Children’s Court if he is involved in a heinous offence. As the Nayagarh murder case is also categorised as most heinous crime, the Special Investigation Team will also appraise the legal forum to try the accused as an adult under appropriate provision of law, said the official.

Noteworthy to mention, Chandra Bijayee Mishra, the lawyer of the accused had earlier said that his client should be treated as a minor and produced in the juvenile court. He had further said that his client was produced in the court as major despite the fact that they have necessary documents to prove him juvenile. “As per the accused’s High School certificate, his date of birth is February 6, 2003. It means, he was 17 years five months and eight days old on the day of occurrence of the crime,” Mishra had stated earlier.

In contrary, when the arrested accused was subjected to a bone ossification test days back, it revealed that he is above 18 years of age, reports claim.

On December 20, the Special Investigation Team led by IPS Officer Arun Bothra had arrested the accused after registering a case under section 376-A, 376-AB, 364, 302, 201 r/w Section 6 POCSO.