Seven months after two separate gang-rape cases occurred in quick succession at the defunct Shakti Mills compound in Mahalaxmi, the sessions court on Thursday convicted all the five adults accused in the two cases. The court will declare its quantum of punishment today.
Four of the convicts
Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi, AFP
Meanwhile, the two minors accused in each rape case are yet to be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board. In the first case that emerged, a 22-year old photojournalist who had entered Shakti Mills with a colleague on an assignment was gang raped on August 22, 2013.
While investigations were on for this case, another survivor, a telephone operator, reported to the cops that she too had been gang-raped by four adults and a minor inside the same mill on July 31, when she had gone there with her boyfriend.
Of the five accused who were found guilty, three were involved in both crimes Vijay Jadhav, Salim Ansari and Qasim Bangali. In the case involving the photojournalist, a man identified as Siraj Khan was in the company of these three men. In the gang rape of the telephone operator, the same trio accompanied a man called Ashfaq Shaikh.
All five men have been found guilty of the crimes. Additionally, a minor was accused in each case. The Mumbai Crime Branch filed a chargesheet in the first case involving the journalist within 28 days of the crime. The document was 600 pages long. The chargesheet for the other case ran for 362 pages.
All five men were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 376(D) for gang rape, 377 for unnatural offence, 341, 342, 354, 354 (A), 343, 506 504 and 509, 120(B) for criminal conspiracy, and 34 for common intention.
An additional section 67 (A) of the Information Technology Act (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) was applied on Ansari.
The greatest possible quantum of punishment is likely to be sought by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam today, while defence lawyer Prakash Salsingekar will seek leniency for all five convicts. Nikam said, “Mumbai police has gathered very good technical and forensic evidence due to which this case has reached its logical end.
The accused were found guilty on 13 charges, including the IT Act, for making a pornographic video of the crime. We are expecting that the accused will be prosecuted either for life imprisonment or for more than 20 years.”
>> August 22, 2013: A photojournalist gone on assignment was raped by five accused including a minor at Shakti Mills compound; her male colleague was threatened.
>> August 25: All the accused were arrested by the Crime Branch and local police together.
>> September 19: Chargesheet of around 600 pages filed by the Crime Branch Unit III.
>> September 21: Case was transferred to sessions court.
>> October 10: Charges were framed against all the accused by the court.
>> October 14: The trial started and the arguments began.
>> March 20, 2014: Accused found guilty.
Telephone operator gang-raped
>> September 3: Offence registered by the Bhandup police in the case of gang rape of a telephone operator by five accused at Shakti Mills compound.
>> September 5: Case transferred to Unit III of the Crime Branch as they were already investigating the same accused in the photo- journalist’s case. An identification parade of the accused was carried out.
>> October 8: Chargesheet of 361 pages filed by the Crime Branch.
>> October 18: Charges framed against all the accused.
>> October 27: Trial started and arguments began.
>> March 20, 2014: Accused found guilty by the sessions court.
No of witnesses examined during the trial
No of pages of the chargesheet in the Aug 22 case
No of charges that the accused were convicted under
>> Three of the adults were involved in both gang rapes, which occurred on July 31 and August 22, at Shakti Mills compound
>> Accused were convicted of 13 charges, including violation of the IT Act