Delhi gang-rape case: Five accused charged with murder

In a significant development, the Delhi Police Thursday filed a chargesheet in the brutal Delhi gang-rape case, which saw the nation rise in outrage.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Delhi Police on Thursday filed a chargesheet in the brutal Delhi gang-rape case, which saw the nation rise in outrage.

The chargesheet was filed in the Metropolitan Magistrate`s Court in Saket.

The chargesheet will come up for consideration before the concerned court on January 5 (Saturday), after which the case will be transferred to a fast-track court which was inaugurated yesterday to hold speedy trial of crimes against women.

The chargesheet was filed against five adult accused, including the driver of the bus in which the gang-rape took place on December 16. They have been charged with murder (which carries a maximum punishment of death penalty), gang-rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code.

The sixth accused apprehended in the case has claimed that he is a minor and his case will be tried in Juvenile Justice Board. A separate police report will be sent to the Board after a bone test confirms that he is a minor.

The 33-page chargesheet with annexures running into several hundred pages was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover with the prosecution urging the court to keep the document in a sealed cover to protect the identity of the victim and that the proceedings be held in-camera.

The court has posted the matter for hearing on January 5 before the area magistrate.

The trial in the case will be held on a day-to-day basis and public won’t be allowed inside the court premises during the trial.

The Delhi Police filed the chargesheet in paper format and have requested the court to keep it sealed till it files the chargesheet in e-format on January 5.

The victim, who was gang-raped on December 16 in a moving bus in South Delhi, had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

The prosecution alleged that the crime was executed in a "well-planned" manner.

"We have invoked Section 120(B) as all the six accused have committed the crime in a well-planned manner," public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told reporters.

"Each one of them has a specific role in the commission of the offence. So they are equally liable for the crime. We have sufficient evidence against all the accused including the juvenile offender," he said.

Mohan said the DNA report has established the involvement of all the accused in the crime.

The five accused are bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

The role of the juvenile offender is also elaborated in the chargesheet.

Apart from the victim`s male friend, who was also assaulted in the bus, the chargesheet names around 40 people as witnesses to support its case against the five accused.

The accused have also been charged with attempt to kill the male friend in the bus, whose owner has also been arrested and remanded to police custody by a Tis Hazari court today.

The prosecution during the trial is expected to demand death penalty for the five accused in connection with ghastly incident which stirred the conscience of the nation.

The male friend of the victim will be the main witness in the case while the Singapore doctor, who carried out the post-mortem, and the Indian mission official who received her death certificate, would be asked to testify, sources said.

Police sources had said that the six accused had also allegedly tried to mow the girl down under the bus after dumping her in south-west Delhi but her male friend had saved her from being crushed in the nick of time.

The victim, a paramedical student, was gang-raped in a moving bus, brutally assaulted, stripped and then thrown out of the vehicle along with her male friend, a software engineer, who was also thrashed.

The girl and her friend were returning from a Saket mall after watching a film ‘Life of Pi’ and had boarded the chartered bus at Munirka for Dwarka not knowing it was plying illegally. The minor among the accused had called for passengers telling them that it was going towards their destination.

Protests inside court premises

As the chargesheet was filed, some lawyers and public shouted slogans in the court demanding that the accused be handed over to public. They need not be tried as it is evident that they are the culprits, they contended.

They were, however, hushed up by fellow lawyers, who requested the judge to appoint a "spokesperson" who can during the trial of the case inform one and all about the daily developments as the matter has touched public sentiments.

The judge asked them to put their views before the area magistrate concerned on the next date of hearing.

Before the filing of the chargesheet, women lawyers protested in the court complex demanding swift justice and strict action against the perpetrators of such crimes.

The male friend`s maternal uncle, who is also an advocate, told reporters that he would keep a tab on daily proceedings and if the police fail to take up the case properly during the trial, he would move the High Court for redressal.

He also said he would also move the High Court requesting "for treating the juvenile at par with the other co-accused".

The filing of the chargesheet in the jam-packed court did not go without drama. Before the proceedings, the courtroom was locked from inside and was opened only after the lawyers protested.

The chargesheet was filed at 17:30 hours, 30 minutes after the normal court hours.

This prompted the judge to ask the public prosecutor for the reason behind filing the chargesheet at the late hour.

Mohan said the investigators took time to put bulky documents along with the chargesheet in an orderly manner.

Later, he told reporters that the chargesheet would be filed against the juvenile offender shortly and the documentation work for that is less taxing than that in the case of the other accused.

He also said as per the law the court will also hold an inquiry to ascertain the age of the juvenile.

A woman advocate, who is empanelled with the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), said in any case the accused would be provided with legal aid.

(With PTI inputs)

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