'Not juvenile', brutal Delhi gangrape assailant now faces death, not freedom

Even as the Supreme Court has decided to hear a petition seeking transfer of the December 16 gangrape case to another court outside the National Capital Region (NCR) and Uttar Pradesh, it was revealed today that a bone ossification test of Vinay Sharma, one of the six accused, has proved that he was not a juvenile, and therefore, could be tried under the existing laws governing rape cases in the country.

Law enforcement and forensic authorities said that as per the tests, Sharma is 19 and not below 18 as he had earlier claimed.

If he had been found to be a juvenile, then the prospect of him walking free within months was very much a possibility.

The details of the bone ossification tests have been submitted to a court in Delhi that is looking at the case.

It maybe recalled that the six persons gangraped, brutally assaulted and grievously injured a 23-year-old woman medical student on a running bus in outer Delhi on the night of December 16. The woman and her male companion were later thrown off the bus in half-naked state.

She was initially treated in Delhi''s Safdarjung Hospital, but on the advice of reputed medical experts such as Dr Naresh Trehan, the government flew her out to Singapore''s Mt. Elizabeth Hospital, given the gravity of her injuries and her deteriorating health parameters.

She struggled to survive for 13 days, but eventually succumbed.

Her death led to nation-wide protests and forced the government to set up various committees to look at possibilities of reworking laws related to rape and women safety. It has also been decided to set up fast track courts to ensure quick settlement of such cases.

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