The prime accused in the Kathua case asked the Supreme Court on Friday to withdraw the security provided to the girl’s family and lawyer, PTI reported. In their affidavit, Sanji Ram and Vishal Jangotra claimed they were innocent and that the provision of security was an “abuse of the process of law”.

The accused also demanded that the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation because the state police’s Special Investigation Team had failed to conduct a “fair and effective” investigation.

The girl was allegedly raped and then murdered in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district in January. Her father has requested for the trial to be moved to Chandigarh.

On Friday, however, the accused also opposed moving the trial out of Kathua. They said it would be impossible for 221 prosecution witnesses to travel over 250 km to Chandigarh, PTI reported.

The girl was found dead on January 17, a week after she went missing from her Rasana village. The chargesheet filed by the Crime Branch said she had been held captive in a temple, drugged, raped repeatedly and then strangled. The accused had lured her to a secluded place on the pretext of helping her find her missing horses, and then taken her to the temple, the Crime Branch said.

On April 26, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the plea filed by the two accused. The court said it wanted to ensure a fair trial, and asked the police to provide protection to the girl’s family and their lawyers. The court, however, warned that the trial would be shifted out of Kathua if there was the slightest doubt that it would not be fair.