Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Supreme court orders release of key accused in Bijal Joshi rape case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the jail administration in Ahmedabad to release Delhi-based businessman, Sajal Jain, a convict in the controversial gang rape case of 24-year-old Bijal Joshi on the New Year’s Eve of 2003.
Partly allowing Jain’s appeal against his conviction, the apex court ordered to consider his over 14 years imprisonment as undergoing life-term and to set him free. Jain had challenged a Gujarat high court’s verdict which had upheld a sessions court’s punishment to Jain for life imprisonment, sources said.
According to the prosecution’s case, Sajal had an extramarital affair with Bijal, who had joined the New Year’s party in Ashok Palace hotel in Shahibaug. Sajal and his friends – Chandan Jaiswal, Ashok alias Mandan Jaiswal, Sugam Jaiswal and Dharmedra alias Karan Jain - had spiked Bijal’s drink and raped her one by one in the hotel room. Later they abandoned her in a vehicle and called up her elder sister early next morning asking her to pick Bijal up. The HC had upheld that the FIR lodged by Bijal can be considered her dying declaration .
During the hearing of the appeal in the high court, a controversy took place when the high court proposed to the victim’s family a hefty amount of compensation from the accused persons in lieu of the long imprisonment. The victim’s kin protested this proposal and demanded the change of bench.
In 2008, a city sessions court convicted five persons and acquitted seven others. Those acquitted were Sugam’s mother Seema Jaiswal, sister Shreya Jaiswal, father Hariprasad Jaiswal, Pannalal Jaiswal, Ashok Patel from Anand, who had allegedly sheltered the accused, and Dr. Yogesh Jadav, the CMO of Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. They had been accused of destroying evidence.

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