Arguing why the prosecution sought the death penalty for the 3 accused common to both gang rapes in Shakti Mills, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam cited 10 different aggravating circumstances
For the first time, an Indian court on Friday sentenced to death three people convicted of repeat offences of gang-rape — of a telephone operator and a photojournalist in the Shakti Mills Complex last year.
The court handed out the death penalty to Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and Qasim Bengali
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the three convicts Vijay Jadhav (18), Qasim Hafiz Sheikh, alias Qasim Bengali (20) and Salim Ansari (27) not only committed the brutal rape, but laughed and made fun of the victim as she cried with folded hands and begged for mercy.
“The trio also boasted that they had committed several rapes on the mill premises and nobody had been able to catch them so far. It was these brave victims who came forward and ensured that they are brought to justice,” he said, welcoming the judgment.
Nikam added that in view of this ‘demonic’ behaviour of the rapists, the prosecution sought the most stringent punishment for the accused, under the Indian Penal Code’s section 376(E), for 10 different aggravating circumstances.
“Though the victim was defenceless, helpless, and crying, the accused cruelly beat her, raped her in a particular manner. One of the accused also boasted that they are very dangerous people,” he said, citing one of the aggravating circumstance for the enhanced punishment.
The prosecution also pointed out how the accused displayed ‘depravity of the minds’ and enjoyed the act even as the victim was totally defenceless before them. “Their boasting was a big challenge to the investigating agencies, which worked hard and successfully brought them to book. They did not deserve any mercy,” Nikam said.
He added that the defence, in view of the young age of the convicts, wanted an opportunity to be given to them for reforming themselves, but the prosecution strongly opposed any leniency as they did not show any leniency to the victims. “A stringent punishment would help serve a strong message to society and to such criminals,” Nikam said.
Last month, Jadhav, Bengali, Ansari and their accomplice M Ashfaque Shaikh (26) were convicted by the court for the July 31 gang rape of a call centre employee and sentenced to life imprisonment till death. Subsequently, the prosecution sought enhanced charges and punishment against Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.