Plea for shifting gangrape accused; Tihar supdt told to reply



New Delhi: A special court on Monday asked Tihar authority as to why two of the December 16 gangrape accused should not be shifted to any other jail following allegations of torture and directed it to submit its prison manual.

The court also expressed desire to go through the CCTV surveillance footage of accused Vinay Sharma's cell, submitted by the Tihar Jail authorities. While Vinay had claimed that he suffered a hand fracture after he was beaten by cell mates, police claimed he had a fight with a co-accused in the police van while returning from court.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna gave the direction to the jail officials after Vinay and co-accused Akshay Singh alleged that they were tortured inside the Tihar Jail and prayed to be shifted from there to Rohini Jail.

The judge said that Tihar Jail superintendent's reply on accused Vinay's application stated that he cannot be transferred from Tihar jail to Rohini Jail as he did not meet the age criteria.

"However, reply on accused Akshay's application is not given. Let the jail superintendent file his reply on Akshay's application also," the court said, while directing authorities to submit their jail manual by tomorrow.

The Superintendent of Jail No.7 in Tihar, Lokesh Chandra, who was directed by the court on April 5 to explain how Vinay suffered a hand fracture, had alleged that the accused was injured during a fight with co-accused Akshay in the jail van while returning to the prison from court.

However, the duo's counsel A P Singh opposed the officer's submissions saying the report itself has contradictory versions in which the jail inmates, who were said to be witness to this incident, had said that Vinay's hand was broken as he fell down, which shows it is "totally false" and based on "planted witness".

Rejecting Vinay's charges, the jail report had said, "In the light of contradictory statements by the patient prisoner (Vinay) in various hospitals, the allegations levelled in the application are totally false, mischievous, unfounded and for ulterior motive."

The court also expressed unhappiness over the request of advocate M L Sharma, appearing for Mukesh, that he be given some time to cross-examine the witness as he is "exhausted" after the prosecution accused him of resorting delaying tactis.

PTI