Court frames charges, 5 accused plead not guilty

DG
The fast track court of Additional Sesions Judge Yogesh Khanna on Saturday framed charges against five of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, under 12 sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). All five have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The sixth accused has been declared a juvenile and faces proceedings before a Juvenile Justice Board.

The five accused — Ram Singh, Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Kumar and Akshay Thakur — have been charged with 12 offences in the gangrape and assault of the 23-year-old paramedical student, who died 13 days after the incident.

Besides Sections 376 (2)(g) (gangrape) and 302 (murder), they also face action under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 366 (kidnapping or abduction of woman to force or seduce her to illicit intercourse), 307 (attempt to murder), 397 (robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (committing murder during dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity).

The over 1,000-page chargesheet filed by the police before Metropolitan Magistrate Namrata Aggarwal on January 3 had also mentioned Section 364 (kidnapping for ransom with threat to cause death or hurt) and 394 (causing hurt in committing robbery), which were dropped by the prosecution. The charge under Section 366 was added by the prosecution during the arguments on framing of charges.

Section 34 (act done with common intent) has also not been specifically mentioned in the court order, though the accused were alleged to have conspired to abduct the victims and committed the offences "in furtherance of their common intention."

The trial of the five accused will begin from February 5 with examination of witnesses.

During earlier proceedings in the magistrate's court, the public prosecutor had told the court that the statement of the complainant (the victim's male friend) and the victim herself spelled out the commission of all offences.

The prosecutor, while filing the chargesheet against the accused, had said DNA reports had indicated that the blood of the victims were found on the clothes of all the accused.

The prosecutor had also told the court that the chargesheet names 80 witnesses and contains a list of 12 items of evidence gathered against the accused.

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