Mumbai: The sessions court trying the Mumbai photojournalist's gangrape case on Monday set a deadline for itself saying it would try to conclude the hearing in 60 days. "We will try to conclude the case in 60 days," the court said while adjourning the matter till September 26.
Three accused - Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari - were produced before principal judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi. The fourth accused Siraj Rehman Khan was not produced before the court, which directed that he should also be brought on the next date of hearing.
The fifth accused in the case, who is a minor, has been sent to juvenile remand home. When the court inquired if the accused had hired their lawyers, Jadhav replied in the negative and agreed to go for a lawyer from the legal-aid panel.
Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam is also likely to open the case before the court on the next date of hearing. The young photojournalist was gangraped by the five accused when she had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai on August 22 with a male colleague on assignment.
The accused had tied up the victim's male companion with belts and then raped her. Meanwhile, a magistrate's court on Monday extended the police custody of the Jadhav, Bangali, Ansari and one Mohammed Sheikh till September 27, in another case of gangrape. An 18-year-old telephone operator had been allegedly gangraped by five men, including Jadhav, Bangali and Ansari, at the Shakti Mills on July 31.
The fifth accused in the case is a minor. Giving an idea of the brutal nature of the crime in the operator gangrape case, the crime branch said in the remand application that before raping the victim the accused had stuffed a cloth in her mouth, then taken her near the bushes (in Shakti Mill) and raped her by turns.
The crime branch told the court on Monday that they have recovered two mobile phones from the accused and they have to recover Rs 2,500 that the accused had stolen from the operator. On September 19, the crime branch had filed a 600-page charge sheet against the four accused in the photojournalist gangrape case.
The accused have been chargesheeted under IPC sections 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), 376(d) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offence), 342 (wrongful confinement), 341 (wrongful restraint), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention).
The charge sheet consists details of the victim's statement, in which she narrated her ordeal, statements of 86 witnesses, forensic evidence collected from the spot, DNA analysis reports, besides the phone call records.