Delhi gang-rape accused mull options

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 18:02 hrs

Two of the accused in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi last month have said they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state while two others have sought legal aid.

Four accused were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler after expiry of their 14-day judicial remand on Sunday.

While Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma refused to take the service of legal aid counsel and expressed their willingness to become witnesses, prime accused Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh sought legal aid.

Legal experts however said it was unlikely for the accused to be allowed to become state witnesses in lieu of milder punishment which is usually reserved for cases which prosecutors find difficult to nail due to lack of evidence.

The five people, formally charged by Delhi police in the case have been asked to appear on Monday at 12:30 pm after a Delhi court formally took cognisance of the charges and the evidence on Saturday.

The accused will face charges including murder, attempt to murder, gangrape, dacoity, murder in dacoity, hurting in dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, common intention, unnatural offences and dishonestly receiving stolen property.

The five charged in the 1,000-page indictment have been identified as Ram Singh, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Singh Thakur.

The Delhi police have also moved an application before the Juvenile Justice Board for the verification of the age of the sixth accused, who is purportedly underage and was not named in the main indictment.

The case of the juvenile, who was reportedly the most cruelest of all during the gruesome crime, will also be heard on Monday, said Delhi Police Joint Commissioner Vivek Gogia on Saturday.

The Delhi police on Thursday filed a charge-sheet in the Saket court against men who had gang-raped and brutalized the victim leading to her death eventually in a Singapore hospital on Dec 29.

On her way back home after a film show on the night of Dec 16, the victim had been raped and brutalized with an iron rod by the six men on a moving bus and then thrown off along with her male companion.

After initially being treated at Delhi´s Safdarjung Hospital she had been transported to Singapore on an air ambulance for better treatment, but succumbed to her injuries at around 2:15 am IST on Saturday.

Her ordeal triggered large-scale protests and anguish that continue to roil the nation as people demand the strongest action against the culprits and bolder, more effective measures to curb such crimes in future.

More from Sify: