Zee Media Bureau
Mumbai: Barely seven months after a Mumbai woman journalist was gang-raped in the deserted Shakti Mills complex, a court here on Thursday found four accused guilty in the case.
Four accused have also been convicted in the July 31 rape of a call centre employee in the same premises.
A total of seven persons, including two minors, were arrested in both the cases in which three of them are common.
The ruling by Principal Sessions Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi in the sensational August 22 gang-rape involving the woman photo-journalist as well as the July 31 rape of the call centre employee in the same premises came five days after the court completed its hearing in both the cases.
The judge will pronounce quantum of sentence in both the cases on Friday.
The judge convicted Vijay Jadhav, 19, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh, 21 and Mohammad Ansari, 28, in both the gang-rape cases.
In addition to the trio, the court found Siraj Khan guilty in the photojournalist gang-rape case, and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh, 26, guilty in the telephone operator gang-rape case.
Two minors, one in each case, are being tried by the Juvenile Justice Board separately.
The court today convicted the five men for gang-rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex and offences under the Information Technology Act.
Commenting on the development, Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil, who was present in the court, said the verdict against the accused has come in a very short time and justice has been delivered quickly. He also ensured that the Maharashtra government has undertaken many measures to ensure the safety of women. “This verdict will deter such crimes in future also,” Patil added.
The first case pertains to a 23-year old photojournalist working as a trainee with an English magazine who was gang-raped by five youths, including a minor where she and a male colleague had gone there for an assignment.
She had identified the accused - Ashfaq Sheikh, Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor - in the incident which was often referred to as Mumbai version of the Delhi December 16 gang-rape case.
In the second case, a 19-year old call centre employees was gang-raped in the same premises on July 31 and she recognised the perpetrators of the crime from the pictures flashed by police in the photojournalist case.
Following a nationwide uproar, the Mumbai police had nabbed the accused within three days after the August 22 incident and filed its 600-page plus chargesheet against them in less than four weeks after cracking the case.
Among other things, the accused were charged with offences of rape, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural sex, and sections of Information Technology Act as they had also made a video clip of the incident.
A few weeks after the incident, the Mumbai police and civic authorities had cleared the huge and desolate Shakti Mills complex of the dense undergrowth and beefed up security in the vicinity.
(With Agency inputs)