The sessions court on Friday sentenced a 28-year-old serial offender to life imprisonment, who was arrested by the police in November 2012 for raping a 27-year-old Spanish national at her Bandra residence.
The court, while convicting Mohammad Badshah alias Mohammad Ismail Ansari, accepted the prosecution’s argument which claimed that the nature of offence committed was not only of a serious nature, but it had also maligned the nation’s image across the globe. The court refused to show any leniency towards the accused and stated that such a judgment would act as a deterrent, sending a strong message across the society.
After convicting the accused, the court, presided over by principal judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, asked the prosecution as well as the defence to argue on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to the accused.
The defence counsel pleaded the court to award his client minimum punishment “since he was too young and was the only earning member of his family”. The counsel also claimed that he had children who were dependent on him.
The prosecution on the other hand pleaded the court to award the accused maximum punishment. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam argued: “The accused’s age should not be a criterion to award lesser punishment. He is a habitual offender. He raped the victim on knife-point.
He was brutal to the victim; rather, he had an intention to kill her. It was because she ran away, she was saved.
“The girl had come to India to study, but this incident had such a vast effect that she refused to come back. Even when she was asked to come down to India to record her statement, she was afraid to come. Hence, we managed to convince her to attend the trial via video camera,” added Nikam.
Convinced by the prosecution’s arguments, the court convicted the accused to life imprisonment. “The public prosecutor had rightly said that this act had spread a wrong image of India across the globe. When the accused attacked the victim, she was defenceless. He took advantage of her situation and gave her grief. It was because of her alertness, she could run; or else, the accused would not have spared her. Considering the facts of the case, leniency cannot be shown to the accused,” said judge Phansalkar Joshi.
The court awarded the accused life imprisonment on two grounds (Section 376 and 377 IPC — rape and unnatural sex). The court sentenced the accused to ten years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) on two grounds — for wrongfully and forcefully entering the house and robbery. The court also convicted the accused to three years of RI under the charges of criminal intimidation and two years of RI for destructing evidence.
After the conviction, the accused and his wife broke down. “My husband is implicated in the case,” said Badshah’s wife.
Senior police inspector Abhay Shashtri, the investigating officer in the case, said: “It was quite a task to build up a water-tight case with every little evidence in order to prove the charges against the accused. The accused was a serial offender, who had almost 35 criminal cases (a majority of them of house-breaking) registered against him. When the victim approached the police to record her statement, she was in a bad mental state since the accused had sexually assaulted her for almost 45 minutes. The accused had also committed unnatural sex with the victim. Somehow I tried to gain the victim’s confidence, promising her proper justice. Finally, she broke down and started revealing every detail of the accused, which helped us to nab him. Our entire force came together and nabbed him from Reay Road railway station.”
November 5, 2012: The incident took place in the wee hours when the victim was sleeping in her flat. The accused, Mohammad Badshah alias Mohammad Ismail Ansari, entered the flat by climbing a sewage pipe of the building.
November 6: The Bandra police nabbed Ansari from his resident in evening after the victim identified him through his photograph.
November 7: The police produced Ansari in the Bandra metropolitan court and he was sent to police custody. The police also took the court’s permission for an identification parade.
November 8: The identification parade was conducted. As victim was scared, she wanted to return her country soon.
November 10: The police seized evidence like a camera, a wrist watch, a mobile phone and 5,000 pounds from Ansari’s place.
October 27, 2013: Ansari broke into the house of actor Dino Morea’s in Bandra (west) by climbing the sewage pipe.