The police attempted to destroy evidence in the investigation in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January, the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch has alleged in a letter to Director General of Police SP Vaid, NDTV reported on Wednesday.

The police reportedly washed the girl’s clothes, which were soaked in blood and mud, before sending them to a forensic laboratory, the investigators alleged. The local police neither preserved the crime scene nor did they search for the girl in her village after her family had filed a complaint.

“Action will be taken and it will become part of investigations,” Vaid told NDTV. “Anybody found wanting in his professional job shall be proceeded against departmentally and legally.”

The Crime Branch will submit the investigation status report to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday, The Kashmir Monitor reported.

The Hindu Ekta Manch had held protests in Kathua in February, demanding the release of police officer Deepak Khajuria, who is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing the girl. She was last seen at around 3.30 pm on January 10 when she was taking her horses for water. Her body was found a week later.