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Photojournalist gangrape:Court allows recalling of 3 witnesse

Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape case

A sessions court trying the Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape case today allowed defence’s application which sought recalling and examining three witnesses
Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape caseMumbai: A sessions court trying the Shakti Mills photojournalist gang rape case today allowed defence’s application which sought recalling and examining three witnesses in connection with the additional charge framed against three common convicts in the case.

The court had last month framed an additional charge under section 376 (e) (punishment for repeated offence of rape) of IPC which attracts the maximum penalty of capital punishment.

Kasim Bengali, Vijay Jadhav and Mohammed Salim Ansari are the common accused who are also convicted in the telephone operator gang rape case. The telephone operator was gangraped on the premises of Shakti Mills about a month before the brutalisation of the photojournalist.

“The court has allowed the recalling of three witnesses and they will be examined tomorrow”, said special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

All the three witnesses who are likely to depose tomorrow are police officers.

Though, initially defence lawyer R G Gadgil, appearing for one of the accused Kasim Bengali, moved application seeking recalling four witnesses; the court allowed recalling only three witnesses.

Principal Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi told Gadgil the examination of the witnesses will only be in the respect of the newly added charge.

The court also recorded statements of Kasim Bengali, Vijay Jadhav and Mohammed Salim Ansari today on the newly added charge.

Under Section 313 of the CrPc, the accused are given a chance to explain the circumstances and allegations against them through their statements.

The trio told the court they were innocent. “We have not done anything”, they said.

When the court asked the accused if they have anything more to say, Bengali said, “..Please withdraw the case against me”.

The Bombay High Court had last week refused to interfere “at this stage” with the sessions court’s decision to frame a fresh charge for repeat offence of rape which can attract the death penalty.

The three men–Kasim Bengali, Vijay Jadhav and Mohammed Salim Ansari –have already been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case related to gangrape of the 18-year-old telephone operator.

According to prosecution, this qualifies them for punishment under the amended section in the photojournalist gang rape case.

The 22-year-old photo journalist of a magazine was gang raped by Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari, Siraj Rehman and a minor boy when she had gone to the Shakti Mills compound in the Central Mumbai with a male colleague on an assignment on August 22, 2013.

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