|Police detain protesters who hurled eggs at the rape accused in Mumbai on Friday. (PTI)
Mumbai, Aug. 30: Police today produced in a juvenile court the youngest among the Shakti Mills gang-rape accused after accepting documentary proof furnished by his family to show that he is a minor.
Crime branch sources said DNA swabs from the victim had matched samples taken from all the five accused.
The police were gearing to produce four of the accused, including the minor, before the Esplanade Metropolitan Court for further remand when the brother of the 16-year-old arrived with age proof, sources said. The fifth suspect is already in custody till September 5.
The brother produced birth certificates issued by the hospital where the accused had been born and by the ward office of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Both certificates showed the teenager was born on February 26, 1997, as claimed by his grandmother Sarnabai a day after his arrest. The crime branch verified with the civic authorities that the certificates were genuine.
An ossification test was earlier being planned to determine the boy’s age but with the documents establishing he was 16 and a half, he was produced separately in a juvenile court.
He will now be kept at the Dongri remand home, a correctional facility for juveniles.
The police had earlier been saying, in the face of Sarnabai’s claims, that the accused was an adult. His age was initially recorded as 19 at the NM Joshi Marg police station where the FIR was lodged.
Later, at a media conference on Monday, Mumbai police chief Satyapal Singh had denied the accused was a minor.
“He is around 18 years of age, an adult as far as we are concerned,” Singh had said. “He was arrested in a theft case in 2011, and as per the birth date recorded in the case papers, he is above 18 years of age.”
Deputy commissioner Satyanarayan Choudhary, the police spokesperson, today told The Telegraph: “Yes, we have taken his remand before a juvenile court on the basis of the documents produced by his family.”
Eggs were hurled at three accused by women protesters from the Nationalist Congress Party when they were brought to the Esplanade Metropolitan Court in south Mumbai this afternoon.
The protesters demanded death for Shiraz Rehman Khan, Vijay Jadhav and Qasim Bangali.
The trio were remanded in police custody till September 5. The fifth accused, Salim Ansari, who was picked up from Delhi, is already in police custody till September 5.
Inside the courtroom today, there was more drama as Qasim, who police chief Singh had said was 19 years old, moved an application claiming he was a minor. He demanded to be produced before a juvenile court.
However, additional metropolitan magistrate Uday Padwad rejected his application on the grounds that he had been treated as an adult in the Girgaum court in another case and that he did not physically appear to be a minor. Qasim is an accused in three cases of theft and one of robbery.
The police today recorded a supplementary statement by the intern photojournalist who was gang-raped on the Shakti Mills compound near Mahalaxmi on August 22.
On the basis of this statement, three new charges have been brought against the five accused. These are: destruction of evidence, unnatural sex and criminal conspiracy.
The police had already booked the accused for rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation. The punishment for rape has been increased after the Delhi gang rape on December 16 last year.