Policemen escort the gang-rape suspects, heads covered in black hoods, as they leave the Shakti Mills compound on Wednesday after a reconstruction of the crime. (AFP)
Mumbai, Aug. 28: The five accused in the Mumbai gang rape were today taken to the Shakti Mills compound for a detailed reconstruction of the crime, hours after their victim was released from hospital.
The 22-year-old photojournalist intern in a Mumbai magazine was discharged last night from Jaslok Hospital where she was admitted on August 22 after she was violated.
“The patient had improved steadily and our team of doctors especially assigned for the patient had declared the patient medically fit for discharge on Tuesday evening and hence she was discharged late on Tuesday night. The patient has been explained all future steps to ensure that she stays medically fit and healthy,” Tarang Gianchandani, acting CEO and director medical services, Jaslok Hospital, said.
Mumbai police today said they would record a more detailed statement of the victim now that she has been discharged. “Based on the interrogation of the five accused, we will record an additional statement,” said a senior crime branch officer.
The girl, who was accompanied by a male fellow intern, was raped when she had gone to shoot pictures of the deserted mill for an assignment.
A police team led by joint commissioner (crime) Himanshu Roy took all five accused — Chand Babu Sattar Shaikh, 18, Vijay Mohan Jadhav, 18, Mohammed Qasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Qasim Bengali, 19, Siraj Rehman Khan, 24, and Salim Ansari, 27 — to the mill complex this afternoon for a reconstruction of the crime scene.
During the two-and-a-half-hour exercise, the accused were made to recreate the crime chronologically. “They showed us how the two photojournalists walked in from platform No 1 of Mahalaxmi railway station, how they accosted them, how a phone call was made to three others, how they bullied, separated the two, and then raped the girl, warning her that they would circulate her pictures if she told anyone. The entire re-enactment was recorded on a video camera,” said the senior officer.
During the reconstruction procedure the accused claimed that they had deleted the photograph of the victim they had shot as it was unclear.
“Salim Ansari claimed the photo was unclear and so it was deleted. The flash from Siraj Rehman’s phone was used for illumination,” the officer said.
At the Shakti Mill compound, Roy told reporters: “Crime scene reconstruction is extremely significantů how they came, with whom they spoke, how they committed the crime, how they left... all these details are corroborated.... It helps us reconstruct the sequence of events and help us build a water-tight case.”
“It was a brutal assault and a heinous crime. We will ensure that justice is delivered and delivered fast,” he added.
The police today appeared to make a climbdown from their claim that accused Chand Shaikh was not a minor.
“We will conduct an ossification test on the accused which will show his exact age. If the test shows he is a minor, the trial would be held in a juvenile court,” Roy said.
Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh had on Monday said Chand Shaikh was over 18. The grandmother of the accused has said his date of birth in the BMC-issued birth certificate was February 26, 1997.