Shakti Mills gangrapes: Defence to challenge additional charge

Bangali's lawyer said they would challenge constitutional validity of section 376 (E), questioning its application in Shakti Mills case.

| Mumbai | Published: March 26, 2014 12:46:57 am
Convicts being taken to sessions court from Arthur Road jail on Tuesday. Kevin D’Souza Convicts being taken to sessions court from Arthur Road jail on Tuesday.
Kevin D’Souza

The defence lawyers of the three persons convicted for the gangrape of a photojournalist and a telephone operator at Shakti Mills compound will Wednesday move the Bombay High Court challenging the application of an additional section under which the prosecution can seek death penalty for the trio.

On Monday, a sessions court had allowed the prosecution’s application seeking the application of section 376 (E) of the Criminal law (Amendment) Act, 2013 against Vijay Jadhav (18), Mohammed Qasim alias Bangali (20) and Salim Ansari (27). The three were held guilty of committing the offence in both the cases. The application of the section enables the prosecution to seek capital punishment for the trio, citing that they were “habitual offenders”.

Bangali’s lawyer R G Gadgil said they would challenge the constitutional validity of section 376 (E), among other reasons questioning its application in the Shakti Mills case. The application is likely to be mentioned before a High Court bench on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the sessions court Tuesday commenced the trial on the additional charge applied against three. Two witnesses — the investigating officer in telephone operator gangrape case and a constable, in whose presence Bangali was let out on bail in a theft case in 2011 — were examined by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. The defence will cross-examine these witnesses on Wednesday.

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