HC upholds life term for rapists


Girl had killed herself after being raped by boyfriend, his friends

The Gujarat High Court Thursday upheld the conviction of five persons in the infamous Bijal Joshi gangrape case who were awarded life imprisonment by the Ahmedabad Sessions Court judgment in 2008.

A division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Mohinder Pal pronounced its judgment while dismissing an appeal against the conviction by the five accused, identified as Sajal Jain, Sugam alias Monty Jaiswal, Ashok alias Madan Jaiswal, Chandan Jaiswal and Dharmendra alias Karan Jain.

The court observed that the 24-year-old victim was gangraped by the convicts in "barbarous manner" and added that the penalty of Rs 15,000 awarded by the Ahmedabad Sessions Court was less given the financial background of the convicts.

Bijal was gangraped on the night of December 31, 2003, in Ashoka Hotel of Shahibaug area of Ahmedabad where she was lured by her boyfriend Sajal to celebrate the New year eve.

Unable to cope with the trauma of gangrape, Bijal committed suicide on January 7, 2004, by hanging herself in her room.

She left a suicide note in which Sajal and four of his friends were named as the rapists.

Bijal had also stated in the suicide note that police were favouring the accused.

The case had hogged the national headlines for days and sent shockwaves across the country.

Six policemen, including an inspector of Shahibaug Police Station, were suspended for dereliction of duty in the case.

The then Ahmedabad Sessions Judge, Jyotsana Yagnik, had on June 19, 2008, convicted five of the accused while acquitting seven others.

The state government had appealed against the acquittals, but the HC upheld the same.

All the convicts are out on bail.

Following the High Court judgment, the lawyers of the five convicts sought six to eight weeks for them to surrender before the jail authorities. However, the court directed the five to surrender before jail authorities within two weeks. One of the accused, Manish Jain, is still absconding.

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