NEARLY TWO years after the alleged rape of a 29-year-old model by police officers, the trial in the case began last month. The special court is hearing the deposition of a security guard, who was on duty at the hotel in Saki Naka where an alleged trap was laid for the victim on the night of the incident, in April 2015. The guard, during the last hearing, identified five of the accused, including two police officers — API Sunil Khatpe and API Suresh Suryavanshi of the Saki Naka police station.
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The cross-examination of the guard started during the last hearing by senior advocates, including Sudeep Pasbola and Prakash Shetty.
It has been alleged that the model was called to the hotel on the pretext of being signed for an assignment. The security guard had told the court that the victim was not allowed to go to the hotel room with accused Tanveer Hashmi and Sikander Mirza as she was not a hotel guest.
The prosecution alleges that the victim and her associate were then abducted from outside the hotel by the accused, who said that they were police officers of the Saki Naka police station. They told the victim that they would take action against her as she was indulging in immoral activities. They took her to a police chowkie, where she was sexually abused. The policemen also demanded Rs 4 lakh from her, threatening to book her for trafficking.
The Mumbai police crime branch has booked nine persons in the case, including three police officers who were suspended after the incident came to light. Special public prosecutor Vidya Kasle said that in all, six persons are out on bail, while API Khatpe, Constable Yogesh Ponde and Sanjay Ronge are still in judicial custody. Discharge pleas filed by some of the accused were rejected by the court.
“The cross-examination of the first witness is yet to conclude. We will decide soon on when to call the victim, based on when she is available for the deposition,” Kasle said.