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Shakti Mill gangrapes: Verdicts likely on Thursday

Defence lawyers contended that prosecution's versions were concocted ones, without any evidence.

Mumbai | March 19, 2014 10:20:33 pm
M_Id_421430_photojournalist_rape_case Shaktimill is know as an isolated spot which attracts criminal elements. (Express archives)

The sessions court is likely to pronounce the verdicts in the cases related to two gangrapes that took place at the Shakti Mill premises last year, leading to a countrywide outrage, on Thursday.

“The court is likely to pronounce the verdicts tomorrow,” said the special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.  The first case pertains to the gang-rape of a 22-year-old magazine photojournalist who had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound in Central Mumbai with a male colleague on an assignment on August 22, 2013.

Five men, (including a juvenile, whose case was separated) are accused of raping her there after assaulting
her colleague.The accused in this case, namely, Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman (and the minor boy), are charged with rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and offences under the Information Technology Act.

The other case is of an 18-year-old telephone operator who was allegedly gang-raped by five persons (including three of the accused in the first case) on the same premises on July 31 last year.

The accused in this case are Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohamed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor. The minor’s case was separated.

During the trial, special prosecutor Nikam termed the ncidents as horrible, gruesome, merciless sexual assaults on two helpless, defenceless and innocent survivors. Defence lawyers R G Gadgil and Prakash Salsingikar, on the other hand, contended that prosecution’s versions were concocted ones, without any evidence.

“The screenplay was ready, the police went on casting the actors (the accused),” advocate Gadgil argued. The prosecution examined 44 witnesses in the photojournalist’s case and 31 in the other case. The defence examined three witnesses in the photojournalist’s case and only one witness in the other case.

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