Ashiana gangrape: 5th accused sentenced to life term

A Lucknow court on Tuesday sentenced Faizan alias Fajju to life imprisonment in the case of gangrape of a minor girl, who was kidnapped from Ashiana area in May, 2005.

Session Judge Akhilesh Dubey, who passed the sentence, also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him.

A resident of Lucknow's Nishtganj locality, Faizan was convicted on the charge of gangrape, but acquitted of the charges of kidnapping for want of evidence. The court stated that there was no evidence that Faizan was present in the car when the girl was kidnapped. However, there was evidence of his presence in the car with other accused and involvement in crime after he got information from the co-accused about the kidnapping.

Faizan, who was taken into custody after the court held him guilty on Monday, was brought to court from the Lucknow District Jail when the punishment was pronounced.

He is the fifth accused to be convicted in the case. In September 2007, a local court had sentenced two of the accused, Aman Bakshi and Bhartendu Mishra, to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. Two others Saurabh Jain and Asif have died in a road accident.

The trial of sixth accused Gaurav Shukla, who was declared a major by the Juvenile Justice Board on January 15 after prolonged litigiation, is yet to start.

The victim's father, who was present in the court, said he was satisfied with the punishment and "justice has been done".

Faizan's lawyer Rakesh Singh, however, said they would file appeal against the judgment.

Activists of the All India Democratic Women's Association and former Lucknow University vice-chancellor Roop Rekha Verma, who have been supporting the victim in her legal battle, were present in the court. Verma said: "We will continue our fight for the victim and provide all possible help."

The case dates back to May 2, 2005 when four youths kidnapped the girl in a car from the posh Ashiana locality while she was on way to her home. When the girl raised voice, the accused increased the volume of tape recorder fitted in the car and started beating her. They also branded her with cigarette butts on her limbs. Two others accused joined them. All six raped her in the car.

Later, they took the girl to a farmhouse, belonging to one of the accused, and again took turns to rape her. She was again beaten by the accused. One of the accused even threatened the girl with a pistol as she was "making noise".

After abusing her for around two hours, the accused dropped the girl on a deserted street in the night. The victim, with the help of passersby, reached home and informed her parents about the ordeal. The parents lodged an FIR. The police during investigation found involvement of six persons and arrested them.

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