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Find out if gang-rape accused being tortured: SC

SC asked fast track court holding trial in Delhi gang-rape to ascertain whether one of accused, Mukesh, was being subjected to torture in custody.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the fast track court holding trial in the Delhi gang-rape case to ascertain whether one of the accused, Mukesh, was being subjected to torture in custody.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Vikramajit Sen sought the report after Mukesh`s counsel M.L. Sharma told the court that he was not being allowed to meet Mukesh as he was being tortured in custody.

The gangrape accused are in judicial custody.

The court said that "in the event accused Mukesh makes any complaint (of being tortured), the magistrate will send the report on the manner in which he is being treated in custody".

"Mukesh will be at liberty to inform the session judge," the court said.

The apex court also asked the fast track court to ascertain if Mukesh wanted to continue with Raja Raman as his lawyer in the petition seeking the transfer of gang-rape trial outside Delhi.

The court sought the clarification after another lawyer, V.K. Anand, who too claimed to represent the family members of Mukesh.

"We are confronted with two vakalatnamas" (written agreement to engage a lawyer) and under the rules there can be only one vakalatnama. Either there should be no objection from the lawyer who had filed the first vakalatnama for the filing of new one or there should be the cancellation of first Vakalatnama, the court said.

"We are informed that the fast track court have fixed tomorrow (Thursday) for the framing of charges, in the circumstance we direct the session judge to ascertain from accused Mukesh which counsel he wants to engage to appear in the transfer petition," the judges said.

Seeking the report from the fast track court, the apex court directed the listing of the matter Jan 29.

Mukesh sought a transfer of the gang-rape trial to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh alleging that the atmosphere in Delhi was not conducive for free and fair proceedings.

The petition said that the attitude of police and jail authorities was totally biased against him.