Mumbai gangrape: Row erupts over suspect's age as family says 16, police claims he is 19
A dispute broke out Saturday over the age of the first suspect arrested in connection with the alleged gangrape of a photojournalist, with police claiming he is 19 years old and his family contesting it and saying he was 16 and a juvenile.
The law treats juvenile differently from an adult. A juvenile can be detained for a maximum of three years for rehabilitation under the Juvenile Justice Board. Adults, on the other hand, can face a maximum punishment for life for a crime such as gang rape.
Further, based on the documents provided by the grandmother of the accused, the latter's eldest sibling was born in 1992.
The Mumbai police, meanwhile, maintained that the certificates have been tampered with, to conceal the real age of the accused.
"The accused has had a history of arrests with the police for petty crimes. So based on these records, we have arrived at his age by adding the years to fill in the gap. Previously, we had arrived at his age after checking with his parents and family," said Ambadas Pote, deputy commissioner of police, detection-II. He added, "We will conduct an ossification test and other medical tests to prove his age only if doubts are raised over this."
"We asked the accused his age after his arrest and he said he was 19-year-old, said Praveen Salunke, additional commissioner of police, central region.
According to the birth certificates produced by the grandmother, the first sibling of the accused, a sister, now aged 21, was born on December 16, 1992. The second, allegedly the eldest brother of the accused, was born in 1994, while the third child and second elder brother, was born a year later on May 5, 1995. The accused was born 21 months later on February 26, 1997, according to the grandmother.