The chemist who allegedly sold sedatives to one of the accused in the Kathua case turned hostile on Tuesday, Greater Kashmir reported. Rajnish Khajuria reportedly told the district and sessions court in Punjab’s Pathankot city, which is hearing the case, that he never sold the drug to accused Deepak Khajuria. Rajnish Khajuria is among 221 witnesses in the case related to the murder and alleged rape of an eight-year-old girl in January.

The police in its chargesheet alleged that Deepak Khajuria bought the sedative from Rajnish Khajuria and handed it over to another accused, Shubham, who used it to sedate the victim. The witness told the court that Crime Branch officials had tortured him, defence lawyer AK Sawhney told reporters outside court.

As news of Rajnish Khajuria turning hostile spread on social media, special public prosecutors Santokh Singh Basra and JK Chopra accused Sawhney of leaking the information, The Tribune reported. They pointed out that details of court proceedings were being publicised despite the Supreme Court’s order to hold an in-camera trial.

However, Sawhney claimed a junior lawyer assisting him in the case had leaked the news. The defence counsel tendered an apology when the matter was brought to the notice of Judge Dr Tejwinder Singh.

The public and the media are not allowed to attend in-camera trial proceedings, which are ordered in sensitive cases to protect the privacy of the parties involved.