THE Sessions Court, Bombay on Friday awarded death sentence to the three repeat offenders in the Shakti Mills gang-rape cases. Kasim Bengali, Vijay Jadhav and Mohammed Salim Ansari are the common accused who has been also convicted in the telephone operator gang-rape case.
Principal Sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi announced sentenced to death. The fourth accused Siraj Sheikh was sentenced to prison till the rest of his natural life.
This is the first case in the country where the death sentence has been awarded under Section 376 E of Indian Penal Code. This Section was introduced after the Delhi (Damini) gang-rape of December 2012. The section allows for the death penalty in the case of repeat sexual offenders.
A 22-year-old photo journalist of a magazine was gang raped on August 22, 2013 by Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Siraj Rehman and a minor boy. She had gone with a male colleague to the Shakti Mills compound near Mahalaxmi railway station on an assignment. In another incident an 18-year-old telephone operator was gang raped on July 31, 2013 on the same spot before the photojournalist was brutalized.
The photo journalist was gangraped by five men including a minor. While the minor is facing trial before the Juvenile Justice Board, Siraj Rehman, another convict in the case was awarded life sentence, until the remainder of his natural life.
Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had demanded the maximum punishment for the three repeat offenders.
“Exemplary and rarest of rare punishment is required in the case. Crime violates all rights of survivor,” said the court at the time of awarding death penalty to the rapist.
On March 20, the Sessions court had convicted five adults, including Mohammed Ashfak Shaikh and Siraj Sheikh, of the gang rapes of a telephone operator and the photojournalist. Of the five, Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari were involved in both cases.