A sessions court will on March 20 pronounce its verdict in two gang-rape cases involving a photojournalist and telephone operator in separate incidents in the defunct Shakti Mills premises in Central Mumbai last year.
Arguments by Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and defence lawyers today concluded before Principal Sessions Judge Shalini Joshi who said she will deliver the judgement in both the cases on Thursday next. The first case pertains to the rape of a 18-year-old telephone operator in the deserted premises of Shakti Mills on July 31 last year. The case came to light aftter a 23-year-old photo journalist, interning with an English magazine here, was gang raped on August 22, 2013 on the same primises.
The accused in the telephone operator case are Ashfaq Sheikh, Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bangali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor. The minor is being tried separately in a juvenile court while the others faced trial in the sessions court.
On October 8 last, police had filed a 362-page charge sheet against four accused in connection with the gang rape after the minor's case was separated. The photo journalist, was gang raped on August 22, by five persons, including a juvenile, when she had gone to the deserted Shakti mill along with her male colleague on an assignment.
Of the five accused, three also figure in the July 31 gang rape case. They are Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman. The accused in the August 22 gang rape case of 2013 have been charged with various offences under IPC such as rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and charges under Information Technology Act, whereas the juvenile is being tried separately.
In this case, the police had filed a 600-page charge sheet against the accused on September 19 last year. The incidents had sparked outrage with people demanding police protection to women and a strong vigil in public places and secluded areas.