Following a night of revelry on New Year’s Eve in 2013, the trio had gang-raped a 56-year-old ragpicker and then brutally smashed her head in with a rock; they were convicted for life on the basis of bloodstains on the rock and their clothes
Three youths were yesterday handed down life sentences for brutally raping and murdering a 56-year-old ragpicker in Ghatkopar on New Year’s Eve in 2013. On January 1 last year, PSI Vishnu Kalekar received a call at Pantnagar police station, informing him that the dead body of an elderly woman had been found at Rishi bike bazaar, near Ghatkopar-Andheri Link Road.
Cops reached the spot and found the woman’s head had been brutally bashed in with a rock. The body was sent to Rajawadi Hospital for post-mortem, which revealed that she had been gang-raped and murdered by blunt trauma to the head. The 56-year-old woman was a ragpicker who lived on the streets in Pantnagar. Her son and his wife reside in Mumbra.
At first, the police registered a case against unidentified persons, but soon began to hunt for the convicted trio — Nazir Shaikh (21), Raju alias Rajava Jaiswal (21) and Milind alias Mindiya Tayade (21) — after locals testified they had often been seen harassing the woman and snatching money from her. The three were also residents of Ghatkopar and were all involved in scrap dealing.
According to the prosecution, the three got drunk on the night of December 31, 2013 (New Year’s Eve) and then raped and murdered the victim. Public Prosecutor Kalpana Hire examined 13 witnesses in the case. One witness told the court that he had often seen one of the accused lying down next to the deceased woman, harassing her.
A police official attached to the case said, “After the offence, the accused went into hiding but they were arrested three days later. We also presented a witness who told court that all the three accused had been drinking at a bar the same day.” According to the defence, “The conviction was based on bloodstains on the clothes found in the house of the accused, which matched with the blood found on the stone used to hit the woman.”
The special women’s court judge, A S Shende sentenced all three accused to life imprisonment under Section 376 (D) (gang rape), 302 (murder), 377 (unnatural offence), 397 (robbery with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC.