Accused ask judge to recuse

The accused arrested for the gangrape of an 18-year-old telephone operator at Shakti Mill compound filed an application before the principal sessions judge on Thursday, requesting that she recuse herself from the trial as the they did not have faith in her.
Principal sessions judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi has directed the prosecution to file a reply in this regard by Friday. Confirming the new application, advocate Moin Khan said that he filed this application on behalf of accused Vijay Jadhav, Salim Ansari and Ashfaq Shaikh.
Around ten days ago, the judge had rejected an application by the same accused seeking transfer of their trial to some other court. After rejection of that application, the accused were given an opportunity to challenge the order in the high court but Mr Khan complained to the court that the letter written by them couldn’t be sent to the HC as jail officials didn’t assist them in procuring copies of the application, as required under the procedure.
The court on Thursday also directed the jail authorities to forward to the HC the letter in which the accused have sought to challenge the order on the transfer application.
Mohammed Ashfaq Sheikh, Mohamed Kasim Hafiz Sheikh alias Kasim Bangali, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and a minor had been arrested on July 31. On October 8, the police had filed a 362-page chargesheet against them in this case. The minor’s case was taken separately.

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