Mumbai, Mar 21 (PTI): A session court here on Friday handed out life terms in prison to the four persons it had convicted in gang-rape of a telephone operator in the abandoned Shakti Mills compound here on July 31 last year.
However, following a fresh application by the special public prosecutor, the court adjourned till March 24 the case of a woman photojournalist’s gang-rape in the same compound in August last year, in which three of the four accused are common to the other case.
While sentencing the four convicts, the court observed that the offence of rape was serious and brutal.
”The offence violates the victim and the society at large. This is also the violation of the fundamental right of Right to Life and it should be kept in mind coupled with the fact that the offence of rape has caused agony on her mind,” principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said.
The court also held that the convicts -- Vijay Jadhav (19), Mohammad Qasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali (21), Mohammad Ansari (28) and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh -- did not commit the offence on the spur of the moment but it was a pre-meditated conspiracy.
After the court pronounced the quantum of punishment to the four, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam filed an application seeking framing of additional charges on the three common convicts in the photojournalist gang-rape case, for repeated offence under section 376(e) of the Indian Penal Code.
Nikam said that the maximum penalty under section 376(e) of IPC is capital punishment.
The court adjourned the photojournalist gang-rape case till March 24 to decide on the application after which it will proceed with the pronouncing of quantum of punishment.
The court had on Thursday convicted five men for gang-rape of two women, criminal conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, assault, destruction of evidence under IPC and other relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
A total of seven persons, including two minors, were arrested in connection with gang-rape of the telephone operator and a photojournalist. Three of the accused are common to both the cases.
While Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Mohammad Ansari were convicted in both the cases, Siraj Khan was found guilty in the photojournalist gang-rape case (of August 22, last year) and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh in the telephone operator gang-rape.
Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately.