A Mumbai Sessions Court today awarded Death Penalty to three convicts in Gang Rape case of a 23-year old photo journalist inside Shakti mills compound on August 22, 2013.
Three convicts- Vijay Jadhav, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh and Salim Ansari, were awarded death penalty for being repeat offenders under section 376E of the Indian Penal Code. The newly-introduced section 376 (e) of IPC provides for maximum punishment of death for repeat rapists even there no homicide. This is the first time that a court has applied this section since the amendment made in February last year.
The 22-year-old photo journalist of a magazine was gang raped by Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Siraj Rehman and a minor boy when she had gone to the Shakti Mills compound in the Central Mumbai with a male colleague on an assignment.
The Mumbai police within 24 hours by arresting a 17-year-old minor accused from his residence in Central Mumbai solved the case and the other accused were arrested within a week.
The accused in this case, namely, Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman, are charged with rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and offences under the Information Technology Act. Three of them were made in a separate rape case dates back to 31 July last year. In that case an 18-year-old telephone operator was allegedly gang-raped by five persons including three of the accused now convicted, within the same campus .. The accused in earler case are Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohamed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor.
As reported by Live Law, during the trial, special prosecutor Nikam termed the incidents as atrocious, frightening, cruel sexual assaults on two helpless, defenseless and innocent survivors. On the other hand, defense lawyers R G Gadgil and Prakash Salsingikar argued that prosecution’s versions were without any evidence and fabricated ones. In the photojournalist’s case 44 witnesses were examined by the prosecution whereas in the other case 31 witnesses were examined. The defense examined three witnesses in the photojournalist’s case and only one witness in the other case.
As per reports awarding death penalty to the three, the court said, "Mumbai gang-rape accused have least respect for law. They don't have potential for reformation as per facts of case."
"Mumbai gang-rape accused were emboldened since law enforcing agencies hadn't caught them. If this is not the case where death sentence prescribed by law is not valid, which is?" the judge asked.
"Exemplary and rarest of rare punishment is required in the case," the judge said, adding, crime violates all rights of survivor.