Bombay High Court Upholds Life Sentence In Bilkis Bano Gang Rape Case

The Mumbai HC upheld the life sentence given by trial court to 11 accused in the horrifying Bilkis Bano gang-rape case. It refused to give death sentence.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday upholding the life sentence given to 11 men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gang-rape and murder case by the trial court, dismissed their appeals filed against the conviction.

Meanwhile, it also dismissed an appeal by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking death sentence to at least three of them, citing it as a rarest of rare case. The CBI felt that awarding death penalty to at least three out of 11 people convicted in the case would send a stern message.

The incident took place in the aftermath of the Godhra train carnage. On March 3, 2002, 17 people including pregnant Bilkis Bano were attacked in a village in Gujarat. In this incident, around eight people were killed and six others were reported missing, while Bilkis Bano and her two family members, master Hussain and Saddam survived.

A special court in Mumbai later convicted eleven men – Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhyesham Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt, and Ramesh Chandana – for the gang-rape of Bilkis and murder of her family members on January 21, 2008, and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

The conviction was challenged by them in the Bombay HC.

The division bench comprising Justice VK Tahil Ramani and Mridula Bhatkar set aside the acquittals of a few Gujarat police officials and two government hospital doctors, as the CBI accused them of tampering with evidence and Bilkis’s statement

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