The sessions court conducting the Shakti Mill photojournalist gangrape case trial, today recorded statements of the accused, who denied all allegations against them. "The court recorded statements of the four accused under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure", special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told PTI. Under Section 313 of the CrPC, the accused are given a chance to explain the circumstances and allegations against them through their statements.
The case pertains to the alleged gangrape of a 22-year-old magazine photojournalist who had gone out on an official assignment with her male colleague, to the deserted Shakti Mills compound located in Central Mumbai, on August 22 last year.
Allegedly, the five accused, (including a juvenile, whose case has been seperated) gangraped her at the abandoned mill compound, after assaulting her male colleague. The accused, namely Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman as well as a minor boy, were charged with rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and other sections under the Information Technology Act.
On September 19, 2013, the Mumbai police crime branch had filed a 600-page chargesheet against four of the accused.
In another related case, an 18-year-old telephone operator was also allegedly gangraped by the five accused (including three of those who were charged for raping the photojournalist). On July 31 last year, the police had arrested Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohamed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor for the alleged gangrape of the telephone operator. The police had filed a 362-page chargesheet on October 8 last year, against the four accused in connection with the telephone operator's gangrape case. Later on, the minor's case was separated.