Hearing in Shakti Mills rape case adjourned

Hearing in Shakti Mills rape case adjourned

A local court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in the photojournalist gang-rape case till Wednesday to allow the defence to approach Bombay High Court against the prosecution move to frame charges against three convicts under a new section that carries death penalty for repeat offence.

The defence has sought to challenge framing of fresh charges under IPC Section 376(E) against three convicts who have been found guilty in another gangrape case at Shakti Mills Compound, where both crimes were committed last year.

The stringent section was added after the December 2012 Delhi gangrape case as part of the Centre’s move to make anti-rape laws tough.

“It is a question of someone’s life and death. We request the honourable Court to adjourn the case till tomorrow,” pleaded defence lawyer Prakash Salsingikar before Principal Sessions Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi.

However, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the case should not be adjourned just to allow the defence to move the High Court.

“The defence (on Monday) morning said they are moving the High Court in the first session itself but they did not do so. This is nothing but delaying tactics,” said Nikam.
Salsingikar cited technical difficulties in moving the HC today. The judge adjourned the hearing but took an oral undertaking that defence will go ahead with the matter from Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Nikam examined the Investigating Officer in the telephone operator gangrape case and a Police Constable as part of prosecution argument to prove the charge of repeated offence against the three common convicts.

Kasim Bengali, Vijay Jadhav and Mohammed Salim Ansari have been sentenced to life imprisonment in the case related to gangrape of an 18-year-old telephone operator at the defunct Shakti Mills premises in Central Mumbai.

The teenager was sexually assaulted about a month before the 22-year-old photojournalist’s gangrape in August 2013 at the same premises.

According to the prosecution, this qualifies them for punishment under the amended section, which stipulates either life sentence or death penalty.

Besides the three, there are two other accused, including a minor, in the photojournalist case.

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