The city sessions court on Tuesday framed charges against the eight arrested accused in the Kamduni rape and murder case.
They will be tried for rape and murder, gang rape, destroying evidence, hatching a criminal conspiracy, abetting an offence and confining someone wrongfully, second fast-track court judge Sanchita Sarkar of the city sessions court announced.
“All the charges were mentioned in the CID chargesheets. Each of the eight accused will face separate trials on specific charges. If they are found guilty of the crimes, they could get death,” a lawyer said.
The trial is likely to begin on September 18.
The hearing of the Kamduni case started on Tuesday with a fresh petition by defence counsel Phiroze Edulji seeking the court’s intervention to prevent an agitation by the Kamduni villagers outside the court.
“Court proceedings are being seriously affected by the agitation in an area where Section 144 is always in force. It is not possible for the accused to get free and fare trial in such a situation. The court should ask the police to disperse the assembly,” Edulji said.
The judge said she would pass an order on the petition on September 13.
Once the judge started the process of framing charges, public prosecutor Dipak Ranjan Ghosh pleaded for an in-camera trial. “There is an apex court ruling that trials of rape cases should be held in camera to protect the victim’s dignity,” Ghosh submitted.
Edulji, however, opposed the move on the grounds that the victim was dead.
The judge will decide on the plea by September 13.
After Ghosh explained why specific charges were brought against each of the eight accused, Edulji stood up and said he did not get any opportunity to talk to the accused. “I want to talk to them for a couple of minutes and then decide about my submission. All the accused should be brought to the courtroom.”
All eight were brought in. Edulji spoke to them before submitting that he had nothing to say at this stage.
The public prosecutor then informed the accused about the charges against them and asked them whether they had anything to say. Each told the judge with folded hands: “I was not present at the spot where the incident took place and I am not involved in the case.”
A group of nearly 50 Kamduni villagers and several outsiders, who were shouting slogans outside the court building, blocked the crossing of Hare Street and Council House Street, demanding a CBI probe and protesting the shifting of the trial from Barasat to Calcutta.
The Supreme Court had on Monday rejected the family’s petition objecting shifting of the trial out of Barasat. It will decide later whether to allow a probe by a special investigation team. “Sentiments, let us keep aside. Let us keep the sympathies aside. Yes, these things should not happen in a country where (a) woman is worshipped but then the accused also have a right (to a free and fair trial),” the apex court said.
The police arrested 11 demonstrators, most of whom were identified as “outsiders supporting the Kamduni villagers”. They were taken to Lalbazar and later released.
Charges and maximum punishment
- 376A (rape and murder): Death
- 376 D (gang rape): Life imprisonment
- 302 (murder): Death
- 201 (causing disappearance of evidence): 7 years
- 120B (criminal conspiracy): Punishment depends
on the outcome of the main offence (in this case rape and murder)
- 109 (abetment of any offence): Punishment depends on the outcome of the main offence
- 342 (Confining a person wrongfully): One year in jail
- Saiful Ali, 28
- Ansar Ali, 35
- Sheikh Emanul Islam, 38
- Aminur Islam, 39
- Bhola Naskar, 52
- Gopal Naskar, 65
- Amin Ali, 27
- Noor Ali, 30
- Another accused, Rafique,