A fast track court has framed charges against the five accused in the December 16 bus gang-rape and murder case, and the trial will begin from February 5, media reports.
In the in-camera proceedings that took place on Saturday, the court framed charges under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 365 ( kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confine person), 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery), and 412 (dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity) of the IPC. If found guilty under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, the accused could face a maximum punishment of death penalty.
A fresh offence under section 366 of the IPC was added by the court against the accused for abducting the girl with the intention to compel and force her to "illicit intercourse". The accused bus driver, Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh pleaded not guilty and claimed trial. The court has now fixed February 5 for starting the trial. The prosecution will begin with its evidence and examine its witnesses in the case.
Additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna framed the charges after finding a prima facie case to suggest that the accused conspired to deceitfully induce the girl and her male friend to board the vehicle by making them believe it was a chartered bus for raping the victim and committing other offences.
In the order, the fast-track court described the juvenile as an "associate" of the five accused, who committed the gang rape in furtherance of the conspiracy and "in furtherance of common intention". The juvenile, the sixth accused, has been been declared a "minor" by the Juvenile Justice Board, which will try him separately for the offences.
Delhi Police had on January 3 filed the chargesheet against the five accused for gang-raping and brutally assaulting the girl on a moving bus on December 16. (ANI with inputs)