Rape accused plea of juvenility rejected again

The Juvenile Justice Board, Lucknow, has for the second time rejected the claim of the prime accused in the Ashiana gangrape case that he was a minor when he committed the crime.

Holding that Gaurav Shukla was a major, the board ruled that his date of birth is March 14, 1987 and not October 2, 1989 as he claimed.

Gaurav, who is the nephew of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Arun Shankar Shukla alias Anna Maharaj, is out on bail. Anna, also a history-sheeter, is SP candidate for Unnao Lok Sabha seat.

One of the three board members, Dinesh Pandey, confirmed that Gaurav has been declared major and the board has directed him to appear before the relevant court on March 26. In January 15 last year, Gaurav was declared major by the board.

The victim’s lawyer, Jalaj Gupta, said the accused had filed an appeal in the sessions court against the board order claiming he was not heard. “The court directed the board to consider the request of the accused and accordingly declare his age,” said Gupta.

On May 2, 2005, four youths had kidnapped a girl from Ashiana Colony and gangraped her in a moving car. Later, they took the girl to a farmhouse and again raped her. Two others also had joined them. They later threw the girl on a deserted street. The victim reached home and her parents lodged an FIR. The accused were identified during probe and involvement of six persons came to light who were arrested later.

The main accused, Gaurav, had moved the Juvenile Justice Board claiming he was a minor at the time of the crime. The board had then declared him a juvenile but the victim’s father challenged the order in the sessions court and in 2010, the court directed the board to conduct an inquiry.

Two of the accused — Aman Bakshi and Bhartendu Mishra — were sentenced to 10 years of jail by a local court in 2007 while two others — Saurabh Jain and Asif Siddiqui — died in a road accident. The fifth accused, Faizan, sentenced to life, is in jail while Aman and Bhartendu are out on bail.

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