Gaurav, who is the nephew of senior Samajwadi Party leader and history-sheeter Arun Shankar Shukla alias Anna Maharaj, is out on bail. The board directed him to appear before the relevant court on January 21.
The victim’s father, Saleem (name changed), was satisfied with the board order and said: “It is the first step towards justice. I am happy.”
Gaurav was not present, as his lawyer had obtained exemption from appearance.
In support of his claim, Gaurav had produced his high school marksheet and certificate. The victim’s advocate Jalaj Gupta said: “We proved that Gaurav submitted fake documents to get admission in Herald Public Inter College from where he appeared in the high school exam.
“The board has held that the date of birth which was mentioned in the record of his first school was correct.”
However, Gaurav’s trial may not yet begin because he can challenge the board order in the sessions court.
But Madhu Garg, state general secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association, who along with Roop Rekha Verma, former vice chancellor of Lucknow University, pursued the case all along and fought for the victim, said they will continue with the fight till “Gaurav Shukla is brought to justice.”
The case dates back to May 2, 2005 when four youths kidnapped the girl from the posh Ashiana locality and gangraped her in a moving car. They also beat her and branded her with cigarette butts on her limbs. Later, they took the girl to a farmhouse, belonging to one of the accused, and again took turns to rape her. Two others also joined them at the farmhouse. One of the accused threatened the girl with a pistol as she was “making noise”.
After abusing her for around two hours, the accused dropped the girl on a deserted street in the night. The victim, with the help of passersby, reached home and informed her parents about the ordeal. The parents lodged an FIR and the police found involvement of six persons and arrested them.
In spite of the uproar over the crime, attempts were made to save the accused. The police initially pressurised the victim’s father to withdraw the case and a member of the women’s commission allegedly offered allurements.
Gaurav moved the Juvenile Justice Board, claiming that he was a minor at the time of the crime. He stated that his date of birth was October 2, 1989. In his application, Gaurav mentioned that in a case lodged at Mahanagar police station, the board had declared him a juvenile. On his application, the board declared him a minor on October 18, 2005.
The victim’s father then challenged the board’s order in the session court. In 2010, the court directed the Juvenile Justice Board to conduct an inquiry after collecting documents related to the age of the accused from defence and prosecution and take a decision. Besides examining the documents, the board also examined seven witnesses.
Two of the accused - Aman Bakshi and Bhartendu Mishra - were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a local court in 2007, while two others - Saurabh Jain and Asif Siddiqui - died in a road accident. The trial of the fifth accused, Faizan, has been completed, and the court has reserved the order.