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Five guilty of Shakti Mills gang-rapes to be punished on Friday

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A city sessions court on Thursday convicted five persons for the gang-rape of the photojournalist and a telephone operator that took place at the Shakti Mills located in central Mumbai last year.

The quantum of sentence in both the gang-rape cases will be announced on Friday.

The court found Vijay Jadhav, 19, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh, 21 and Mohammad Ansari, 28 guilty for both the gang-rape cases. In addition to the trio, the court found Siraj Khan guilty in the photojournalist gang-rape case on August 22, and Mohammad Ashfaque Shaikh, 26, guilty of the telephone operator gang-rape case at the same compound on July 31 last year. Two minors, one in each case, are being tried under the juvenile justice act separately.

Principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi pronounced the judgment in the courtroom teeming with journalists along with the accused and their family members. There will now be arguments for the quantum of punishment following which the quantum will be announced.

The crime branch that investigated both cases submitted a 362 page chargesheet in the telephone operator case on October 8 last year, while a 600 page chargesheet was filed in the photojournalist case on September 19. After the police machinery came in for criticism from several quarters, the state home minister RR Patil had stated that the trial would completed soon.

The trial was conducted on a day-to-day basis in the court presided by the principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi. The administration had come in for criticism after the shocking incident following which state home minister RR Patil had promised that the trial will be completed soon.

During the course of the trial, on October 17, when the photojournalist was called in to identify the accused, she had fainted in the courtroom after identifying them and was rushed to the hospital.

In another instance, due to a miscommunication between the jail officials and the liaison officer, Siraj Khan, one of the accused, was thought to have ‘escaped’ from prison, when he was not presented in the court during one of the court dates only to be later found in the jail.

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