The Mumbai police on Friday moved closer to nailing the five accused arrested in the photojournalist's gang rape case with forensic tests confirming that DNA samples found on the victim matched with those of the suspects.
"We have received forensic report from the directorate of forensic sciences laboratory at Kalina on Friday. The DNA samples found on the victim match with the DNA samples of all five accused. This is one of the strongest evidences to confirm that the accused were involved in the crime," Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.
Roy said one of the five accused was found to be a minor with his brother producing a birth certificate issued by the city's civic authority and a school leaving certificate both of which showed he was born in February 1997.
"We have also verified with the authorities concerned (with regard to the date of the birth of the minor accused). The certificates state that the accused was born in the month of February in 1997. Now ossification test is not required to be done to determine his age," he said.
After the arrest of this accused, the police had claimed he was 18 years of age but his family had disputed it, saying he was a minor. Following this police had planned to conduct an ossification test.
Earlier in the day, three of the accused -- Shiraz Rehman Khan, Vijay Jadhav and Kasim Bengali -- faced the wrath of the women, who hurled eggs at them when they were being escorted to a jeep after being produced before the court.
The women, claiming to be members of a political party, raised slogans and demanded that alleged rapists be hanged.
The trio's police custody was extended till September 5.
The minor accused was produced before a juvenile court, from where he was sent to a juvenile remand home in Dongri. The juvenile accused, if convicted, would have to spend a maximum of three years at a correctional facility instead of undergoing stricter punishment of no less than seven years which could extend up to life imprisonment for others.
Bengali, a history-sheeter, moved an application before Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Uday Padwad, claiming he was a minor and cannot be produced before the regular court.
The Judge, however, rejected his claim and observed that last year, when he was tried before a court in Girgaon in another case, he was treated as an adult. Also, his physical appearance does not suggest he is a minor.
The fifth accused, Salim Ansari, who was nabbed from Delhi, is already in police custody until September 5.
The investigators have also slapped three more Indian Penal Code sections-- 377 (Unnatural offence) , 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) against the accused.
The five accused had been earlier booked under various sections of IPC including 376(D) (rape), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506(2) (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention to commit an offence).
The 23-year-old photojournalist was sexually assaulted at defunct and deserted Shakti Mills compound in Parel area on the evening of August 22 when she had gone there on assignment with a male colleague.