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The prosecution in Mumbai's Shakti Mills gang-rapes trial on Tuesday completed the examination of the two witnesses called to prove three common convicts in both the cases are guilty under section 376E of the Indian Penal Code, a section for repeat offenders in rape cases.
The two witnesses, who were examined, were investigating officers in two prior cases involving some of the convicts.
Section 376E was brought in under the new Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2013.
The charge, applicable in case of repeat offenders in rape cases, was pressed against them on Monday and the prosecution had called for two witnesses to be examined on Tuesday.
If the charge is proved, the prosecution can ask for death penalty for the three convicts as it is the maximum sentence under the section that was brought under the new law following the justice JS Verma report in the wake of the brutal Delhi gang-rape case.
The court had last Thursday found Vijay Jadhav, 19, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh, 21 and Mohammad Salim Ansari, 28 guilty in 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.
The first case pertains to the gang-rape of a 22-year-old photojournalist who had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound in Central Mumbai with a male colleague on an assignment on August 22, 2013.
The other case is of an 18-year-old telephone operator who was allegedly gang-raped by five persons (including three of the accused in the first case) on the same premises on July 31 last year.