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Delhi gang-rape: Juvenile`s school principal claims he is minor

The school principal of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang-rape case on Tuesday submitted before a Juvenile Justice Board that as per the school records he is 17 years and six months old.

New Delhi: The school principal of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang-rape case on Tuesday submitted before a Juvenile Justice Board that as per the school records he is 17 years and six months old.

The present and the former headmasters of the school in Bhawanipur at Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, where the juvenile had studied till Class III, appeared before the Board presided over by Principal Magistrate Geetanjali Goel and told her that they cannot identify the boy but know that he took admission in the school in 2002.

The former principal said during the time of admission, the boy`s father had come to admit him and mentioned his date of birth as April 6, 1995.

He further told the court that they never ask the parents to give the child`s birth certificate as age proof during the time of admission in the school.

"We take this as the official record and later on follow the same throughout the academic session, so it could not be doubted," the Principal said.

Taking note of the submissions made by both the school Principals, the court has now fixed January 28 as the next date of hearing in the case.

The legal aid counsel for the juvenile advocate Rajesh Tiwari, however, told media persons outside the court that on the next date of hearing in the case the Board will hear arguments to decide the age of the juvenile and will thereafter give its verdict whether he is a major or minor.

The principals appeared before the Board as they were asked to be personally present with all the documents pertaining to his age after the police had raised doubts over his school certificates.

The juvenile accused, however, was not produced before the Board comprising three members.

While the juvenile accused is at present lodged in the juvenile home, the other five adult co-accused are lodged in Tihar jail and are being prosecuted in Saket district court.

The chargesheet filed in the court by the Delhi Police is understood to have described him as the most brutal of the six men who raped a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on December 16 and brutally assaulted her leading to her death.

The police has not named him in it because of his age. A separate inquiry report will be filed against him after ascertaining his age.

The application of bone-age test of the juvenile, who the police said was the most aggressive of the six accused in the crime, is under consideration before the Board.

The five other accused---Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur---have been charge with the offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the IPC.

According to police sources, the minor has confessed during his questioning before child welfare committee and the investigative officer of the case that he had done `wrong` and was `sorry`.

The youth is the eldest son of a mentally challenged father and his mother relied on farming to raise the juvenile`s two brothers and two sisters in a small hamlet at Badaun.

The investigators said that around five to six years ago he fled from his home and came to Delhi.

According to police, he first joined a hotel, worked there as waiter for five months at East Delhi`s Trilokpuri and then worked with a milkman at Khoda Village beside Trilokpuri for around eight months.

He then left the milkman and worked with a street eatery on the Delhi Highway connecting Uttar Pradesh. After working there for around two months, he had joined a road side Dhaba where he worked for around one and half years, police sources said.

It was at this Dhaba he met Ram Singh, who offered him the job of helper. He then worked with him in a bus for about six months in Noida and thereafter both of them left the job.

He then joined a bus owner Salim and started working as helper there for almost six months but he left very soon and joined a blueline bus plying on the route number 33 in the national capital.

Around five months ago, he again met Ram Singh and demanded his Rs 8,000 and a job from him. Both met on December 15 and had dinner. The minor then slept at Ram Singh`s accommodation.

Next day - December 16 - Ram Singh called all his friends Pawan, Vinay, Mukesh and Akshay.

The sources further said that on the fateful night all the accused partied and then went for a joy ride in bus and to "pick some girl for sexual pleasure".

They first robbed Ramadhar Singh, who they picked up from R K Puram Sector 4 and then dumped him near IIT gate. And from Munirka, they picked up the gang raped victim and her boyfriend and dumped them assuming dead.