Mumbai gang-rape accused may have assaulted other women too

Cops probing the case of gang-rape of a photojournalist here suspect that the perpetrators of the crime may not have done it for the first time.

Zee Media Bureau

Mumbai: Cops probing the case of gang-rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist here suspect that the perpetrators of the crime may not have done it for the first time.

Following interrogation of the accused – all five have been arrested – police believe the gang may have sexually assaulted other women also.

While none of the five accused have any record of sex-related offence, some of them had been arrested earlier on charges varying from breaking into houses to robbery.

The rape case, which had eerie similarities with the December 16 Delhi gang-rape, will be tried in a fast-track court, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Sunday.

Noted criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has been requested to appear as public prosecutor in the case.

The crime took place on Thursday evening and the last remaining accused was arrested in Delhi yesterday, hours after the fourth accused was held in Mumbai.

Mohammad Salim Ansari, 27, was nabbed at Bharat Nagar in north Delhi, a Delhi Police official said.

An official said four officials from Mumbai Crime Branch and a team of Delhi Police trapped Ansari and took him into custody as he was going to a relative`s house. He was taken to a hospital for medical check-up and presented before a duty magistrate before being taken to Mumbai.

The Delhi court granted Mumbai police his transit remand for 48 hours, after which he would have to be presented before a court.

According to police, the fourth accused, Mohammed Kasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali, was arrested at Mumbai Central railway station early Sunday.

Co-accused Siraj Rehman Khan was arrested Saturday night.

A Mumbai court sent both Hafiz Shaikh and Khan to police custody till August 30 for questioning.

The 22-year-old photojournalist was raped by five men in an abandoned textile mill complex in central Mumbai on Thursday after her male colleague was beaten and bound.

The latest incident shocked the entire nation, triggering fresh demands for death to rapists.

The Mumbai accused allegedly also shot pictures of the crime on mobile phones and threatened the victims with dire consequences if they complained to police.

The photojournalist was on an assignment for an English magazine and had gone to the desolate area to take pictures of the abandoned factories when she and her male companion were attacked by the rapists.

Two other suspects, Vijay Jadhav and Chand Babu Sattar Shaikh, are also in Mumbai police custody till August 30.

While Shaikh was nabbed within 18 hours of the incident that shocked the nation, Jadhav was taken into custody on Saturday.

The photojournalist remains warded in hospital after suffering serious injuries.

On Sunday, her family pleaded for her privacy.

(With IANS inputs)

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