The Hyderabad Police on Thursday said they will push for the juveniles involved in the gangrape of a 17-year-old girl in the city to be treated as adults in court, NDTV reported.

Six persons, including five minors, have been arrested in the case. One of the minors is the son of an All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MLA.

“Currently we are focusing on collection evidence,” Deputy Commissioner of Police D Joel Davis said, according to The Times of India. “Once the chargesheet is filed, we will ask the JJB [Juvenile Justice Board] to recommend for the trial as adults.”

All five minors in the case are between 16 and 18 years, according to the television channel. One of them is barely a month short of turning 18.

An amendment made to the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015 allows those aged above 16 to be treated as adults if they have committed a heinous crime. However, the Juvenile Justice Board has to evaluate if they were mentally and physically capable of committing the offence.

A juvenile cannot be sentenced to more than three years in jail.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand said the police will seek “to ensure maximum punishment” in court, NDTV reported. If tried as adults and convicted, the minors will be kept in a juvenile home till they are 21 and then shifted to jail.

The case

On May 28, the girl and her friend had gone to a pub in the Jubilee Hills area of Hyderabad to attend a party where she was allegedly befriended by the accused persons. They offered to drop her home but instead took her to a secluded spot and took turns to rape her in a car.

At first, the girl had shared vague details about the assault with her parents on May 31. A day later, she told the police everything.

Of the six arrested, five have been booked for gangrape. The MLA’s son has been booked for sexual assault.

The police had initially claimed that the MLA’s son was not in the car and said that he was not involved in the assault.

However, on June 4, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Raghunandan Rao alleged that the MLA’s son was involved in the gangrape. At a press conference, Rao showed a video of the accused persons to reporters. He also displayed printouts of screengrabs from the video.

Following this, the police on Tuesday named the MLA’s son as an accused in the case.

The police also booked Rao, who is also a lawyer, for releasing pictures and the video of the girl.