Mumbai gang rape attackers formally charged
In less than four weeks after the brutal gang rape of a woman photo-journalist in an abandoned mill compound, the Mumbai police Thursday filed the formal set of charges against all the five suspects here.
The charge sheet, running into almost 600 pages, was filed separately for four accused in a metropolitan court and the report on charges against a minor delinquent was given to a juvenile court.
The accused are: Salim Ansari, Mohammed Kasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali, Siraj Rehman Khan, Vijay Jadhav and one minor, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
On Aug 22, the 22-year-old woman was raped by the gang of five in the deserted Shakti Mills compound near Mahalaxmi in south Mumbai, police said.
She went there on an assignment along with a male colleague who was also brutally beaten up and tied before the accused sexually assaulted her, police said.
The accused have been charged under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 376(d) for gang rape, 337 for unnatural offence, 120(b) for criminal conspiracy, 34 for common intention and 201 for destruction of evidence.
Criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, who successfully led the case against Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, has been appointed special public prosecutor and will present the prosecution case against the gang rape accused.
The charge sheet includes details of the victim's assault, forensic evidence collected from the crime site, DNA reports, phone call records of the accused and statements of 86 witnesses.
Following a nationwide outrage, the Mumbai police swung into action and managed to nab all the five attakers within days of the incident from Mumbai and New Delhi.
On its part, the Maharashtra government has committed to conduct the trial in a fast-track court to ensure speedy justice to the woman photojournalist.
After successfully carrying out investigations and making the arrests, the Mumbai police have said they have a "water-tight" case against all the accused.
(Posted on 19-09-2013)