(As per the latest update, seven members of the gang have been sentenced to life imprisonment.)
A Hyderabad court on Tuesday convicted eight members of the notorious 'snake gang' in connection with disrobing of a young woman in July 2014 and a range of other criminal offences, including dacoity.
Prime accused Faisal Dayani, a gym instructor, and six of the gang's members, who would threaten their victims with snakes, were convicted under IPC Section 452 (house-trespass), 395 (dacoity), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 354B (assault or use of criminal force to any woman with the intention of disrobing).
The eight accused was convicted only under IPC Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property).
The ninth accused, booked only under IPC Section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property), was acquitted, the prosecution said.
The quantum of punishment would be pronounced on Wednesday by the Ranga Reddy district court, Public Prosecutor Ponnam Devaraju Goud said.
The seven convicts, who were also booked for gangrape, were acquitted of the charge, Goud said.
In August 2014, Pahadishareef Police arrested members of the gang, including Dayani, after the 18-year-old girl alleged she was sexually assaulted by them at a farmhouse in Shaheen Nagar here on July 31, 2014.
The gang members had entered the farmhouse to commit a robbery. They forced the victim to strip by threatening to set a snake on her and then allegedly raped her in front of her fiance, police had earlier said.
However, the charge of gangrape was not proved against the accused as the victim did not state this allegation before the court during the trial, Goud said.
"The sections under which the accused have been convicted attracts minimum of 10 years of imprisonment and maximum life imprisonment. We have sought maximum punishment," Devaraju added.
The gang members used snakes to scare women and sexually assault them. Some of them were also involved in land grabbing, acting as arbitrator between disputing parties, and other offences, police had said.