Certificate of birth shows suspect in gangrape is a minor

Mumbai gangrapeThe Mumbai gangrape accused have admitted to having earlier committed two rapes and a molestation inside Shakti Mills compound. (IE Photo)

One of the five accused in the alleged gangrape of the photojournalist in Mahalaxmi is a minor, according to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. His date of birth is recorded as February 26, 1997.

Related: Mumbai gangrape accused raped a ragpicker, a sex worker in Shakti Mill, say police

This suspect was the first to be arrested by the Mumbai Police, and his age has been in dispute since Friday, the day after the crime in the Shakti Mills compound. While police have repeatedly said the suspect is 19, the grandmother of the accused has produced a document — a hospital post-natal card — that shows he is only 16.

Related: Mumbai gangrape accused was a police informer

The Indian Express has accessed a copy of the suspect's birth certificate from BMC's G-South ward office in Lower Parel. It has the same date of birth as claimed by the grandmother. The date of registering the birth, as per civic records, is March 18, 1997. The certificate number is 751735944.

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The names of the father and the mother, along with the residential address as mentioned in the certificate issued by the G-South ward match the accused, who is from a slum in the Dhobi Ghat area. The suspect was produced before the Bhoiwada magistrate court on August 24. He has been remanded in police custody until August 30.

Mumbai Police Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy said the police wanted to conduct a bone ossification test on the accused to rule out any possibility of the defence later claiming a "mistrial".

Mumbai photojournalist gangrape: Those 3 hours

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection II) Ambadas Pote, since the accused had a history of crime and had been arrested earlier, the police arrived at his age based on calculations from earlier records. Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Region), Pravin Salunkhe, said the police recorded the age based on an answer given by the accused earlier.

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