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Court rejects bail petitions in gang-rape case

KARACHI, Sept 30: An additional district and sessions court on Tuesday rejected bail applications submitted by three accused allegedly involved in the gang-rape of a woman on the premises of Mazar-i-Quaid.

An assistant manager of Quaid-i-Azam mausoleum’s security staff, an accountant, and a personal assistant to the resident engineer of the mausoleum management board were indicted last month on charges of kidnapping and sexually abusing the 18-year-old woman. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the case.

The accused later filed bail applications, claiming that they were implicated in the case.

A judgment on the applications was reserved by the additional district and sessions judge, east, Aftab Ahmed Boghio, after recording the arguments of the prosecution and defence counsel in the previous hearing. On Tuesday, the judge announced the verdict by rejecting the applications.

The case (FIR No 50/2008) was registered at the Brigade police station under Section 365-B of the Pakistan Penal Code (the section was inserted through the Protection of Women Act, 2006) on the complaint of her father.

According to the charge-sheet, the woman and her family members from Lodhran (Punjab) were on a visit to the mausoleum when she was allegedly abducted during a power breakdown on March 15. She was taken to a room where she was forced to take a drugged drink and subjected to a gang-rape. The kidnappers kept her in their custody for a day and a half and then threw her at the gate of the mausoleum in the early hours of March 17. She was later spotted in an unconscious state by Rangers personnel, the charge-sheet said.

The assistant manager of the mausoleum’s security staff was arrested on March 20, the charge-sheet said, adding that there was little doubt about his involvement in the crime because the victim not only identified him while recording her statement with the SHO, the accused was then in police custody, but also identified him in an identification parade conducted in the court of a civil judge and judicial magistrate, east.

The victim in her statement, recorded under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code, told the court that she was a resident of Lodhran and had come with her family to the city after visiting the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan. She added that they went to the Mazar-i-Quaid on the night of March 15. Her husband went outside to bring in the remaining family members waiting in a bus. In the meantime, the power went off and around five men grabbed her at gunpoint and took her to a storeroom in the mausoleum, where they sexually assaulted her.

Later, the accountant and the personal assistant to the resident engineer of the Quaid-i-Azam Mausoleum Management Board were booked on April 24 following the receipt of a DNA report that confirmed their involvement in the case.
Source: Dawn
Date:10/1/2008

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