New Delhi, Aug 26: The Maharashtra government will “do its utmost” to complete the probe into the Mumbai gang rape case and prosecute the five accused expeditiously, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Monday, while the BJP sought death for the suspects.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Shinde said: “All the five accused have been arrested. Public order and police are subjects exclusively dealt with by the state.”
“The government of Maharashtra will do its utmost to complete the investigation in the crime and prosecute the accused under law expeditiously,” he said.
The home minister also said that he has spoken to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and was assured that the case would be tried in a fast track court and the verdict would be announced fast.
The home minister said the statement of the male companion of the photojournalist has been recorded. The photojournalist’s male companion was also beaten up by the accused.
“The male companion has provided some vital clues about the culprits and based on that, the Mumbai police prepared and released some sketches of the suspects,” he said.
But an agitated Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to know whether any time-frame had been set for prosecuting the suspects.
She also demanded death penalty for the culprits.
“I am saddened that the Damini (Delhi gang rape victim) case has not been expedited. Hang one or two (of the culprits)… such incidents will stop,” she said.
Several members thumped their desks to show solidarity with her observations.
“It seems there has been a flood of such incidents in different parts of the country since then (the Dec 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape),” Sushma Swaraj said, referring to the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist by six people, including a minor, in a moving bus. The victim died later.
The gang rape of the 22-year-old Mumbai photojournalist in an abandoned textile mill complex Aug 22 left the nation shocked, with many demanding death for the accused.
The Lok Sabha also discussed the case involving spiritual leader Asaram Bapu, who is facing allegations of raping a minor girl.
The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan, who demanded action against a “saint” accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
Janata Dal-United member Sharad Yadav said: “There is one sadhu who is taking the country for a ride. What have you done in the case? A young girl has slapped rape charges against him.”
“The government should say something and do something on this. Why don’t you speak on this,” Yadav said.
“Punishing this sadhu will send a strong message across the country,” he added.
Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Gurudas Dasgupta also demanded stringent action against Asaram Bapu.
He also said there have been growing incidents of rape across the country including gang-rape of a woman constable in Jharkhand.
“These incidents bring shame to us and also to government agencies.” he added.
Shinde, however, said he had no information in the Asaram Bapu matter.
“…All these are state subjects and I have no information in the matter,” said Shinde.
“Whenever we get any information from the state concerned, we will share with the house,” he added.
Asaram Bapu was asked to appear before Rajasthan Police for questioning in the case registered on the complaint of a 16-year-old girl a week ago.
The girl accused Asaram Bapu of sexually assaulting her at his ashram in Jodhpur city, a charge denied by the spiritual guru.