Hyderabad: Police want to try minor gang-rape accused as adults
The Hyderabad Police is planning to appeal in the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to allow the accused in the Jubilee Hills gang-rape case to be tried as adults. Five of the six accused are minors, while one Saduddin Malik is a major, who is in three-day police custody till Saturday. All are accused in the gang-rape case of a 17-year-old girl in a car.
Of the five accused who sexually assaulted the girl, four are between 16 and 17 years. The sixth accused, charged only with molestation, is a month short of turning 18. The police might bring to the JJB's notice an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015, permitting juveniles between the age group of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offenses.
Notably, all the accused belong to affluent and politically influential families, the police said. One of the four minors charged with gang rape includes the son of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader. The other two are said to be sons of corporators in Greater Hyderabad and Sangareddy. The accused charged with molestation is the son of an MLA of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM).
The four minors and Malik have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 D (gang rape), 323 (causing hurt), section 5 (G) (gang penetrative sexual assault on a child), section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 366 (kidnapping a woman) and 366 A (procuration of a minor girl) and Section 67 of Information Technology Act.
The sixth—who didn't rape the girl but he kissed her in the car—has been booked under IPC Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323, and Section 9 (G) read with 10 of POCSO Act. He could be imprisoned for five to seven years, while the others could face life imprisonment till death, the police said.
Welcoming the police investigation, TRS working president KT Rama Rao said on Twitter, "If you are adult enough to commit a crime as heinous as rape, one must also be punished as an adult & not as juvenile (sic)." Telangana Home Minister Mahmood Ali also lauded the police for conducting a "fair probe" adding, "No one is a friend or enemy to the police."
According to the DCP, the girl's father said the 17-year-old went to a non-alcoholic party—reportedly hosted by her classmates—at a Jubilee Hills pub on May 28. After his daughter returned, he noticed minor injuries on her neck. Thereafter, a case was registered under Sections 354 and 323 of the IPC and Section 9 read with 10 of the POCSO Act.
The Telangana Police said that the girl had befriended one of the boys at the pub. The CCTV footage also showed the girl standing outside the pub with the suspected accused, who had offered to drop her home. However, they parked the car in the Jubilee Hills area and reportedly took turns raping her while others stood guard outside the car.