Jammu: The trial in the case of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir is nearing completion nearly a year after it began at a court in Punjab’s Pathankot, officials said on Sunday.Defence lawyers are likely to complete their final arguments on Monday, followed by a brief concluding statement from the prosecution team led by J K Chopra, they said, adding that the verdict is expected thereafter. The day-to-day in-camera trial began in the first week of June last year at the district and session court in Pathankot after the Supreme Court directed that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir after lawyers in Kathua had prevented crime branch officials from filing the charge sheet in the case. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCA political turmoil was witnessed in the Jammu region last January after the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s crime branch took over the case and arrested eight people, including a juvenile and two police officials who were accused of destruction of evidence. The case became a bone of contention between then ruling alliance partners PDP and BJP. The BJP had to sack two of its ministers, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, for participating in a rally of Hindu Ekta Manch in support of those arrested by the crime branch in the case. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsThe crime branch arrested village head Sanji Ram, his son Vishal, juvenile nephew and his friend Anand Dutta, and two special police officers Deepak Khajuria and Surender Verma. Head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta, who allegedly took Rs 4 lakh from Sanji Ram and destroyed crucial evidence, were also arrested by the crime branch. Charges of rape and murder were framed by the district and sessions judge against seven out of the eight accused. The trial against the juvenile is yet to begin as his petition regarding his age is to be heard by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. In its May 7 order, the apex court said “the pivotal fact around which the controversy centres, is abduction, rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl. An FIR was lodged at Hiranagar Police Station, Kathua…The investigating agency, namely, the Crime Branch, which took over the investigation on 22nd January, 2018 from the local police has already filed the charge-sheet on 9th April, 2018, in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kathua in the State of Jammu and Kashmir”. However, the country’s top most court did not say anything about handing over the case to the CBI and rather transferred the trial to the District and Sessions judge in Pathankot in Punjab, 30 km from Kathua. “The learned district and sessions judge, Pathankot, shall himself take up the trial and not assign it to any additional sessions judge and shall fast-track the trial and take it up on day-to-day basis so that there is no delay in trial,” the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had said in April last year. All the accused, barring the juvenile, have been shifted to Gurdaspur jail following an intervention by the Supreme Court which also restricted appearance of the defence lawyers and limited it to one or maximum of two per accused. The crime branch had submitted the charge sheet in the crime on April 9 before the Kathua court. The case hit the headlines after lawyers tried to prevent the police from filing the charge sheet. According to the charge sheet, the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 this year, was allegedly raped by in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been kept sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.