Describing the gang rape of a 24-year-old here as “barbaric,” the Gujarat High Court today upheld the life term awarded to five accused in the 2003 case where the girl was sexually assaulted after her boyfriend Sajal Jain lured her to a city hotel.

A Division Bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Mohinder Pal rejected the appeals of all the five accused who had sought quashment and setting aside of the Sessions court order of June 2008.

The victim 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 had been beaten up.

According to her complaint, she was gang raped by six people, all of whom were either relatives or friends of her boyfriend.

Upholding the verdict of the trial court, the HC in its 121-page judgment said, “If the facts of the present case are examined, we find that the offence is not only very serious in nature but it has practically destroyed the human dignity of a victim who is now deceased with a vigorous sexual assault.”

“The Sessions judge has not made any error in imposing sentence of life… more particularly when we have found that each of the convicts has committed sexual intercourse upon the victim by force, that too in a barbaric and heinous manner.”

“Hence the court declines to interfere with the decision of the Sessions court,” it said.

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 giving them benefit of doubt.