February 23, 2017 2:19:03 am
NINE MEN were convicted by a special court Wednesday for gangrape of a 38-year-old woman in 2013. The court has sentenced two of them, Vishal Sood and Wahid Khan, to life imprisonment. Seven others — Ajay Geychand, Mahesh Margaze, Dastgir Khan, Vasim Sheikh, Manprit Sing Gill, Bhuvan Hamal and Dhiraj Panchal — were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The accused had subjected the victim to violence including one of them inserting sticks in her private parts.
Special Judge S K S Razvi relied on the deposition of the victim where she had identified each of the men. The victim in her statement had told the police that she had been working as a farm labourer in her village and had lost her husband over a decade before the incident. She had told the police that she would often come to Mumbai to collect and sell scrap and buy clothes for her teenage children.
In September 2013, she had come to Mumbai in anger after being assaulted by her son in a drunken state. She had taken shelter in a tempo in Mulund as it was raining. She told the court that she would collect and sell scrap from 6am to 2pm and thereafter rest in the tempo. On the day of the incident, which was the day of Ganesh Visarjan, she was sleeping in the tempo when some boys peeped into the tempo. She told the court that they forcefully entered the tempo and took her out to a shed where they sexually assaulted her.
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She identified four of the accused — Ajay, Vishal, Dastagir and Vasim — since they were from the same neighbourhood.
She told the court that Vasim, then called three other men, who she did not know. She later recognised their names. The abuse continued and she was ferried to a nearby jungle by two of the accused on a motorcycle. She tried to raise an alarm but her mouth was gagged by the accused. In the jungle, two other accused sexually abused her, including one who inserted two sticks from a nearby plant into her private parts. The victim was then allowed to go after which she approached the police. The police arrested the accused on the basis of the description and names given by the victim. In one of the first cases in the city, the police had also relied on bite identification marks of the accused’s teeth on the victim.
The men were convicted for charges including 376D (gangrape), 366 (kidnapping and abducting a woman), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 506 (criminal intimidation), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint). Sood and Khan were also convicted under Section 377 (unnatural sex).
During her deposition in 2014, through public prosecutors, Usha Jadhav and Kalpana Hire, the victim had told the court that after the incident she had been kept in a protective home and was taken to a hospital for eight days as she was under pain. The victim had also told the court that she continued to have abdominal pain months after the incident. She also told the court that she intermittently felt giddy and that she was yet to recover physically and mentally.
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