The sessions court trying the Mumbai photojournalist's gang rape 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 enquired 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 gang-raped 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 today 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 gang-raped 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 gang rape 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.