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Shakti Mills gang-rapes: Convicts get life in telephone operator case, photojournalist's case deferred till March 24

Friday, 21 March 2014 - 10:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Web Team

All four convicted for gangraping a telephone operator at Shakti Mills were sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court on Friday. The court, however, adjourned the hearing on the quantum of punishment to the convicts in the photojournalist gangrape case till March 24.

Meanwhile, the prosecution is likely to seek death penalty against the common convicts in Shakti Mills gangrape cases.

While sentencing the four convicts, the court observed that the offence of rape was serious and brutal.

"The offence violates the victim and the society at large. This is also the violation of the fundamental right of Right to Life and it should be kept in mind coupled with the fact that the offence of rape has caused agony on her mind," observed principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi.

The court also held that the convicts - Vijay Jadhav (19), Mohammad Qasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali (21), Mohammad Ansari (28) and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh - did not commit the offence on the spur of the moment but it was a pre-meditated conspiracy.

Over seven months after the gangrape of the two women in the abandoned Shakti Mills compound in Mumbai, the court on Thursday held five men guilty in both the cases.

The court convicted the five men for gangrape, criminal conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, assault, destruction of evidence under IPC and other relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

After the court pronounced the quantum of punishment to the four, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam filed an application seeking framing of additional charges on the three common convicts in the photojournalist gangrape case, for repeated offence under section 376(e) of the IPC.

Nikam said that the maximum penalty under section 376(e) of IPC is capital punishment.

The court adjourned the photojournalist gangrape case till March 24 to decide on the application after which it will proceed with the pronouncing of quantum of punishment.

The court had yesterday convicted five men for gangrape of two women, criminal conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, assault, destruction of evidence under IPC and other relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

A total of seven persons, including two minors, were arrested in connection with the two gangrapes involving a telephone operator and a photojournalist in July-August 2013.
Three of the accused are common to both the cases.  Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately.

While Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Mohammad Ansari were convicted in both the cases, Siraj Khan was found guilty in the photojournalist gangrape case (of August 22, last year) and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh in the telephone operator gangrape case at the same compound on July 31, last year.

Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately. 

The 19-year-old telephone operator was gangraped by five persons including three of the accused in photojournalist's rape case on the same premises on July 31, last year. 

The victim, a resident of Mulund, is a Std IX pass-out. She works in a private company in Bhandup. 

This girl wanted to marry a 21-year-old with whom she was in a relationship.

On July 27, the boy met the girl’s mother to discuss marriage plans. On July 31, both the boy and the girl came to a garden in Mahalaxmi. While returning, they spotted two women and a man, and asked them for a short-cut to the station. The trio took them through the Shakti Mill compound as it was a shorter route. 

After a while, the girl complained of pain in her leg and they decided to stay back. At 8pm, three men accosted them and threatened the victim’s friend and tied him up. Later, one of the accused called two more friends on the mobile phone and gang-raped the girl

On the same day (July 31), the boy and the girl travelled to Bilaspur from CST. They stayed with a relative of the boy for a month. When the girl did not return home, her mother lodged a complaint at Bhandup police station on August 1.

 The girl called her mother on August 10 and told her she will reach Mumbai the next day. On August 11, the duo came to the city. On learning there’s a police complaint, they fled the city again, the police said.

They came back to Mumbai on September 1 and narrated the incident to her mother. The girl’s mother informed the Bhandup police that her daughter had returned, but hid the rape incident. 

The girl, however, told the police about the incident on September 2 while they were recording her statement.

The 22-year-old photojournalist, who was interning with an English magazine in the city, was gangraped by five persons, including a juvenile, when she had gone to the deserted mill compound with her male colleague on an assignment. The accused tied up the victim's colleague and raped her and filmed the act with a phone.

Also read: Account of the hellish evening when Mumbai gang-rape happened

The accused, Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman have been charged with rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and charges under Information Technology Act in the journalist gangrape case.

The Mumbai Crime Branch had on September 19 filed a 600-page chargesheet against the four accused in the August 22 case.

 


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