The Supreme Court on Monday asked three witnesses in the Kathua case to approach the Jammu and Kashmir High Court with their allegation that the special investigation team had harassed them, PTI reported.

The witnesses – Sahil Sharma, Sachin Sharma and Neeraj Sharma – are friends of one of the key accused in the case. They had asked for an independent inquiry into the alleged harassment by the SIT looking into the rape case. They alleged that the state police had harassed them while recording their statement.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud refused to order an investigation into the allegation, and referred them to the state High Court instead.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium and advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir government, told the court that the witnesses have already been re-examined and their statements have been re-recorded.

The top court had earlier rejected a plea to record the questioning of the three witnesses on video.

The witnesses, aged between 19 and 20 years, had alleged that they were “coerced to make statements contrary to the fact that [accused Vishal] Jangotra was with them at Muzaffarnagar from January 7 to February 10”, when the crime took place. They said they were “subjected to physical and mental torture” by investigating police officers in March.

The petitioners had also sought Rs 50 lakh each as compensation.

Jangotra was among eight people accused by the Crime Branch of allegedly kidnapping, raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district in January.