Shakti Mills gangrape verdict: All five accused guilty in two gangrape cases

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Mumbai: Five men were today held guilty of gangrape of two women in the abandoned Shakti Mills compound here last year by a Mumbai sessions court. The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment tomorrow.

A total of seven persons, including two minors, were arrested in both the cases in which three of them are common.

Siraj Khan, Qasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and Mohmmad Ashfaque Dawood Shaikh were found guilty by Principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi.

Following the gangrape of the photojournalist, another incident of gangrape at the same venue also came to light wherein a telephone operator was sexually assaulted on July 31, 2013 by the same five accused.

Shakti Mills gangrape accused, from left to right: Chand Sattar Sheikh, Vijay Jadhav, Salim Ansari, Kasim Shaikh alias Bengali, Siraj Khan

The principal sessions court judge convicted Vijay Jadhav, 19, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh, 21 and Mohammad Ansari, 28, in both the gangrape cases.

In addition to the trio, the court found Siraj Khan guilty in the photojournalist gangrape case on August 22, and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh, 26, guilty in the telephone operator gangrape case at the same compound on July 31, last year.

Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately.

The court today convicted the five men for gangrape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and offences under the Information Technology Act.

Welcoming the verdict, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, who was present in the court, said, “The cases were tried in fastest possible time and victims have got justice….Hope this verdict will act as a deterrent.”

The Unit III of the Mumbai Crime branch had filed a chargesheet containing 600 pages in the photojournalist’s case in 28 days. In the second case, a chargesheet was filed within 18 days comprising 362 pages. Seventy witnesses were examined in the photojournalist case. Further, 56 witnesses were questioned and recorded their statements in the gangrape case of the telephone operator.

The first case pertains to the gangrape of a 22-year-old magazine photojournalist who had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound in Central Mumbai with a male colleague on an assignment on August 22, 2013.

Five men, (including a juvenile, whose case was separated), were charged with raping her there after assaulting her colleague. They are Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Siraj Rehman and a minor.

The other case is of an 18-year-old telephone operator who was gangraped by five persons (including three of the accused in the first case) at the same premises on July 31, last year. The accused in this case are Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohamed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, and Vijay Jadhav.

Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari are common accused in the two cases.

The prosecution examined 44 witnesses in the photojournalist’s case and 31 in the other case. The defence examined three witnesses in the photojournalist’s case and only one witness in the other case.

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