A dispute broke out Saturday over the age of the first suspect arrested in connection with the alleged gangrape of a photojournalist, with police claiming he is 19 years old and his family contesting it and saying he was 16 and a juvenile.
“The accused has had a history of arrests with the police for petty crimes. So based on these records, we have arrived at his age by adding the years to fill in the gap. Previously, we had arrived at his age after checking with his parents and family,” said Ambadas Pote, DCP, Detection-II.
“We will conduct an ossification test and other medical tests to prove his age only if doubts are raised over this,” he added.
The birth certificate produced by his grandmother, however, shows the accused as the fourth child in the family, born on February 26, 1997. The documents also show that his eldest sibling was born in 1992.
The Mumbai Police, which has mentioned his age as 19 in the remand document, claimed the birth certificates have been tampered with to conceal the real age of the accused.
“We asked the accused his age after his arrest and he said he was 19-year-old,” said Praveen Salunke, additional commissioner of police, Central Region.
According to the birth certificates produced by the grandmother, the first sibling of the accused, a sister, now aged 21, was born on December 16, 1992. The second sibling, the eldest brother of the accused, was born in 1994, while the third child and second elder brother was born a year later on May 5, 1995. The accused, was born 21 months later on February 26, 1997, according to the grandmother.
The 60-year-old grandmother added that all children were born in B Y L Nair Hospital, about 2 km from their house in Dhobi Ghat, Mahalakshmi.
Saying it was the weekly off day, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s public health department, which maintains the register of birth and deaths in the city, refused to check the veracity of the mother’s claims on Saturday.
The woman also claimed the mother of the suspect died in 2003 when he was about five years old.