Delhi gangrape case: Court to announce quantum of punishment today

Delhi gang rapeThe police vehicle in which the four accused were brought to court on Tuesday. (IE Photo: Oinam Anand)
All four men tried for the December 16 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi were found guilty of the crime Tuesday, with a special fast track court ruling that they had intentionally caused the death of the woman.

Delhi gangrape: All accused held guilty of rape, murder

They were convicted on 11 charges including gangrape, murder, abduction, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity and criminal conspiracy and could be punished with death. The court is due to sentence them on Wednesday.

"The facts do make all the accused liable for the cold blooded murder of the defenceless prosecutrix," said additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna.

Delhi gangrape: Sequence of events

The court also took note of the severity of injuries caused to the woman, saying that the "magnitude of force in inserting the rods" had caused over 18 internal injuries and damaged several vital internal organs.

Delhi gangrape: Victim's family demands death for all four accused

The four men — Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma — along with Ram Singh and a juvenile had raped the woman on a moving bus which she had boarded with her male friend.

Delhi gangrape:Juvenile held guilty of rape and murder, sentenced to 3 years

While Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in jail during the trial, the juvenile was tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and held guilty last month. He has been sentenced to three years in a correctional centre.

The court said it had taken note of DNA reports, forensic and medical evidence and statements of the victim, her male friend and carpenter Ramadhar, who was robbed by the same group the same evening before the gangrape.

The DNA and forensic evidence matched the blood and semen samples, clothing, dirt and other materials of the accused. Besides, the teeth marks left on the body of the woman were also matched to Akshay Thakur and Ram Singh.

Announcing the verdict in a courtroom filled with lawyers, police officers and journalists, the judge praised the efforts of the police, prosecution and defence lawyers to help conclude the trial fast.

As the judge left the courtroom, the four men in the dock seemed bewildered by the quick hearing, with Vinay Sharma breaking down in tears as the police began to whisk them out.

"All acts were done in a pre-meditated manner," the judge said in his 237-page order. Observing that the accused had created fear in the victim by putting off the lights in the bus, closing the door and using filthy and indecent language before dragging her to a confined space in the back of the vehicle, the judge noted that the accused had rendered her defenceless before committing rape.

The court held that medical evidence had proven that the extensive injuries caused to the woman led to her death, and not medical negligence as argued by the defence lawyers. "The act of complete destruction of the most vital parts of the body in the manner described can never be termed as intending to cause bodily injury... rather it will be acts done with the intention of causing death" the court said.

It cited medical evidence which suggested that iron rods had been repeatedly inserted into the private parts of the woman and her alimentary canal had been pulled out after iron rods and hands were inserted into her body.

Defence lawyers had argued that the dying declaration of the woman could not be believed as she had not been in the correct mental condition but the court dismissed their plea, noting that the woman had not only "written down the names" of the accused but had also signed the statement given to the SDM.

The court noted that the three statements given by the girl, to the doctor, the SDM and the magistrate who recorded the final dying declaration, were "consistent and corroborative of the material aspects of the case." The court also noted that the doctors had certified the mental alertness of the woman on the two occasions when the SDM and the magistrate recorded her statements.

The lawyers for 20-year-old Vinay Sharma and 19-year-old Pawan had claimed that the men had not been on the bus, but their plea of alibi was dismissed by the judge. The judge also dismissed a plea by Mukesh, who had claimed he had only been driving the bus. The court said he was equally responsible as he had participated in the rape and assaulted the woman and her friend.

The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence to be awarded on Wednesday. With the minimum sentence for the crimes being life imprisonment, the arguments are expected to be focused on awarding the death penalty to the convicts.

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