SRINAGAR: In a mysterious development that may cast a shadow on the trial in the gang-rape and murder case of Kathua child, a FSL-sealed envelope supposed to contain the victim’s hair strands that were produced in a court yesterday turned out to be empty.

According to reports, the envelope with seven FSL stamps which was produced by the Special Investigation Team of J&K Police’s Crime Branch before the district and sessions court in Pathankot yesterday, turned out to be empty, creating a flutter in the courtroom.

The FSL had conducted the DNA test of the victim’s hair which was collected by the SIT from Devsthan in Rasana village of Jammu’s Kathua district. According to the police charge-sheet, the victim was held captive in a sedated condition and repeatedly raped by the accused.

“When the envelope with seven stamps was produced in the court, the judge ordered it to be opened. There were four small envelopes inside, of which three turned out to be empty. Lastly, a plain white paper inside the fourth yellow envelope was also opened which also turned out to be empty,” reports said.

Speaking with reporters after the day’s proceedings, defence lawyer A K Sawhney said the envelope which was sent to SIT by FSL after conducting DNA test of victim’s hair, turned out to be empty, “It is cause of worry for the prosecution,” he said.

Seven persons, including Sanji Ram, the caretaker of the Devsthan, a small temple in Rasana where the crime took place and his nephew have been named as accused by the crime branch in the case that sent shockwaves across the world.

Among the alleged culprits are two police officers who have been accused by J&K Police’s crime branch of destroying evidence, including washing the clothes of the girl child before they were sent for forensic examination.

The horrifying case became one of the reasons for growing differences between the erstwhile coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir, the Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP, with the latter forced to remove two ministers who were rallying behind the accused.