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Statements of accused in Shakti Mills gangrape case recorded

The sessions court conducting the Shakti Mills photojournalist gangrape case trial, completed recording statements of the accused on Thursday.

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

“The court has completed recording statements of the four accused under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),” said special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. Under Section 313 of the CrPC, the accused is given a chance to explain the circumstances and allegations against them, through their statements.

The accused, namely Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Siraj Rehman as well as a minor boy, were charged with rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and other sections under the Information Technology Act. On September 19, 2013, the Mumbai police crime branch had filed a 600-page chargesheet against the four accused.

Allegedly, the five accused, (including a juvenile, whose case has been separated) gangraped her at the abandoned Shakti Mills compound, after assaulting her male colleague. Defence advocate Prakash Salsingikar said that the court had asked about 970 questions to the accused.

Meanwhile, Nikam began his final arguments in the related Shakti Mills telephone operator gangrape case and it will continue tomorrow. This case is of an 18-year-old telephone operator also allegedly gangraped by five accused (including three of those who were charged for raping the photojournalist).
On July 31 last year, the police had arrested Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohammed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor for the alleged gangrape of the telephone operator.

The police had filed a 362-page chargesheet on October 8 last year, against the four accused, in connection with the telephone operator’s gangrape case. Later on, the minor’s case was separated.

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