Govt seeks death for Shakti rape convicts

Govt seeks death for Shakti rape convicts

Maharashtra’s law office struck a double blow to those involved in two separate atrocities against women committed in Mahalaxmi’s Shakti Mills compound last July and August.

In the first case the prosecution has sought capital punishment for three of the four sexual offenders, who were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life last Friday for gang-raping a 19-year-old telephone operator.

They are Vijay Jadhav (18), Qasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Qasim Bengali (20), Salim Ansari (27) and M Ashfaque Shaikh (26). They were held guilty under section 376(E) of the Indian Penal Code which stipulates imprisonment for life as well as the death penalty itself.
Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari, are also suspected for gang-raping a photojournalist on August 22 last year, in which the prosecution has been allowed to bring fresh charges by introducing new evidence and witnesses.

“Three of the accused are guilty in both cases — the gang-rape of a telephone operator that took place on July 31 and trainee photographer that took place on August 22...the trio has been awarded life sentence till death...but they are denying the charges, thus we have decided to present two more witnessess and buttress prosecution case with additional evidence,” said Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said outside the sessions court premises.­

He also said that the prosecution has requested the court to try the case under IPC Sec. 376(E), “ ...the matter has been posted for Tuesday and most probably the court will give its decision on our plea for enhanced punishment on the same day.”

Principal Sessions Judge Shalini Joshi rejected the defence’s plea to stay the trial because it wanted to move the Bombay High Court to challenge framing additional charges, after the sentence was pronounced in the telephone operator’s case.

Two minors, one in each case, are being separately tried by the Mumbai Juvenile Justice Board and the hearing will start next month.

The accused have been found guilty under sections 376 (D) of the IPC for gang-rape and other sections pertaining to wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, and sections of the Information Technology Act as the attackers had also made a video clip of the incident.

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