HC refuses to stay trial in Shakti Mills gang-rape case
Mumbai: Hearing the plea of the accused for transfer of Shakti Mills gang-rape case, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to stay the trial in the lower court and asked their lawyers to make a proper representation.
"We shall not stay the trial... Let the proceedings go on in the sessions court," said Justice G S Patel of the vacation bench of the High Court.
The Court was hearing a letter written by three accused in this case who pleaded for transfer of proceedings to another court as they alleged that the trial judge was not properly recording the defence plea in the evidence.
The letter, written by Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Salim Ansari and Vijay Jadhav, was addressed to Chief Justice Mohit Shah who converted it into a petition and placed the matter for hearing before the vacation bench.
Earlier, the High Court had appointed a lawyer to represent the accused and submit arguments. However, this lawyer was discharged today after two defence advocates appeared on behalf of the accused.
Justice Patel told advocates S Prakash and Keshav Chavan that they should seek instructions from the accused and make a proper representation. It should not happen that the accused should write such letters to the Court expressing lack of faith in the Judge.
The matter was adjourned to next week to enable the accused to seek instructions.
Meanwhile, the trial would go on uninterruptedly in the sessions court from January 6, when the court reopens after Christmas vacations.
On July 31 and later on August 22 last year, a 18-year-old tele-operator and a 23-year-old photojournalist were gangraped at the desolate mill compound in Lower Parel.
The convicts in their appeal had pleaded innocence and had contended that they have been implicated by the police.
"The entire case is outcome of torture and fabrication just to please the political bosses. There is length of lacuna which gives clear indication of fabrication of evidence against them," advocate M L Sharma, the counsel for Mukesh and Pawan, had submitted.
The counsel had said that the government issued a statement on December 23 vowing to punish the rapists even when no sample was sent to CFSL to ascertain that the accused were the culprits.
"This shows that this case was not investigated. It was prepared at the behest of MHA and the political bosses," he had told the bench.
Ram Singh, who was the prime accused, was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March last year and the proceedings against him were abated.
The sixth accused, a juvenile, who was most brutal among them, was on August 31, 2013 convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.
On the night of December 16, 2012, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gangraped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.
The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital.
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