The Gujarat High Court on Thursday upheld life imprisonment to five persons, who gang-raped a 24-year-old city girl after a New Year night party in 2003, at a hotel, where she was lured by her boyfriend Sajal Jain.
The Division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Mohinder Pal rejected the appeals of all five accused who had prayed to quash and set aside the sessions court order of June 2008.
The victim, hailing from a middle class family, committed suicide by hanging herself in her room on January 7, 2004, a week after the crime on December 31, 2003.
She was also branded with cigarettes and was badly beaten up.
According to her complaint, she was gang-raped by six people, all of whom were either relatives or friends of her boyfriend Sajal, present in the hotel room.
Upholding the trial court order, HC observed, "This court is of the opinion that sexual inter course was committed by force and that too in barbaric manner which was not only heinous but it had destroyed the dignity and identity of the victim."
"Hence the court declines to interfere with the decision of the sessions court," it said rejecting their petition.
Sajal Jain and the hotel owner's two sons-- Chandan and Ashok Jaiswal-- were among the five convicted by Sessions Judge Jyostna Yagnik.
Two others--Sugam Jaiswal and Dharmendra Jain-- were also awarded life imprisonment. One accused Manish Jain has been absconding in the case since 2003.
The sessions court had also acquitted seven others for lack of evidence.
All the convicts who are out on bail requested the court to give time of 4-6 weeks to surrender. However, the court granted them two weeks to surrender before the police.
The case had shocked the nation and several protests were held across Gujarat against the gruesome incident.