Ranjit Mahanti

THE Sessions court on Friday sentenced four accused convicted in the gangrape of telephone operator in the abandoned Shakti Mills compound case to life imprisonment. The court observed that the offence of rape was serious and brutal.

The principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi also held that the convicts – Vijay Jadhav (19), Mohammad Qasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali (21), Mohammad Ansari (28) and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh – committed pre-meditated conspiracy. The court on Thursday had convicted five men for gangrape of two women, criminal conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, assault, destruction of evidence under IPC and other relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

A total of seven accused, including two minors, were arrested in two gangrapes with telephone operator and a photojournalist in July-August 2013. Three of the accused are common in both the cases. While Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Mohammad Ansari were convicted in both the cases, Siraj Khan was found guilty in the photojournalist gangrape case and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh in the telephone operator gangrape case at the same compound on July 31, 2013.

Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam filed an application seeking framing of additional charges on the three common convicts in the photojournalist gangrape case, for repeated offence under section 376(e) of the IPC.

The court adjourned the photojournalist gangrape case till March 24 to decide on the application after which it will proceed with the pronouncing of quantum of punishment.

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