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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Mumbai photojournalist gang-rape: accused on the run was quizzed by cops just days ago

Saurabh Joshi, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 05, 2013
First Published: 03:04 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:47 IST(5/9/2013)

Ashfaq Dawood Shaikh, 28, the last accused wanted in connection with the gangrape of a 19-year-old telephone operator at Shakti Mills compound on July 31, had been picked up by the police just days ago during investigation into the gangrape of the photojournalist at the same spot on August 22.

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The 17-year-old juvenile, who has been arrested for the July 31 gangrape, was also quizzed by the police at the time.

Both Ashfaq and the 17-year-old are part of the larger gang that includes the five accused in the photojournalist gangrape case.

Officials at NM Joshi Marg police station said the whole gang kept mum about the 19-year-old’s rape on July 31 when they were questioned. During interrogation in the photojournalist case, the juvenile and Shaikh also saw the five accused in that case, but nobody revealed their acquaintance, the police said.

Shaikh, who has cases of theft registered against him, has been on the run since August 23, soon after he was let off after interrogation.

On Wednesday, the NM Joshi Marg police sent a team to another state to catch Shaikh as his last location has been traced to a place outside Maharashtra.

The juvenile accused was arrested late on Tuesday after he was identified by the 19-year-old survivor and her male friend on the basis of self-inflicted slash wounds on his left hand, which he had shown them on July 31 when the 19-year-old was raped. The police are yet to recover his mobile phone.

With no independent witness and the medical test of the survivor not likely to reveal much as the crime was reported more than a month later, the police said they are counting on circumstantial evidence.

“We have collected all forensic samples from the spot,” said Vinayak Deshmukh, the deputy commissioner of police (zone 3).


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