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Charge sheet filed in gang-rape case

New Delhi, Jan 3, 2013, DHNS : 1:35 IST
Indian lawyers shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest at the entrance to Saket District Court in New Delhi on January 3, 2013. A gang of men accused of repeatedly raping a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in a deadly crime that repulsed the nation are to appear in court for the first time. Police are to formally charge five suspects with rape, kidnapping and murder after the woman died at the weekend from the horrific injuries inflicted on her during an ordeal that has galvanised disgust over rising sex crimes in India AFP PHOTO
Eighteen days after the gang-rape of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in south Delhi, the city police on Thursday filed a 33-page charge sheet at a Saket court, mentioning minute details of the brutal attack.

The formal set of charges, which came along with over 1,200 pages of evidence, was filed against five of the six accused before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover at around 5:30 pm. Those named are Ram Singh, 33, his brother Mukesh Singh, 24, Pawan Gupta, 18, Vinay Sharma, 20, and Akshay Thakur, 28.

Grover has posted the matter for cognisance on Friday. Once the court takes cognisance of the case, it will be moved to a designated fast-track court which might conduct an in-camera trial.

The accused face charges under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence), 365 (kidnapping), 376-2G (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (dacoity with murder), 34 (common intention) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

The sixth accused, a 17-year-old boy, has not been included in the charge sheet. A supplementary charge sheet will be filed if results of an ossification test prove that he is a major. Otherwise, he will be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board. However, the boy’s role in the incident has been highlighted in the charge sheet.

The police have also sought an order barring disclosure of the contents of the documents to the media to protect the victim’s identity and appealed for a day’s time to file an e-charge sheet.

The victim’s statement to a sub-divisional magistrate and a metropolitan magistrate, while undergoing treatment at Safdarjung Hospital, was also submitted in sealed covers. It is being viewed as a key evidence against the accused.

The case will be heard on a day-to-day basis with no adjournments at a fast-track court inaugurated by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir on Wednesday.

Though the police wanted to wrap up the trial in a short time, it will be a difficult task since the Saket District Court Bar Association has passed a resolution stating that none of the lawyers will defend the accused.

An advocate, Arjun Natarajan, has volunteered to defend the accused saying he wanted to be a part of the case to ensure that the culprits are punished as soon as possible.

“If no lawyer comes up to defend the accused, the case would not even be sent to the sessions court. So, I volunteer to check the documents and fulfill the procedure,” Natarajan said.

In the charge sheet, the police have mentioned the entire sequence of events from the time Ram Singh, the main accused, and five others had a party, following which they took the bus out for a trip to earn money to buy more alcohol.
Apart from the victim’s statement, the police will also use her medical report and male friend’s statement as evidence.

The medical report said her injuries were grievous enough to cause death.
CCTV footage and forensic evidence will also lend strength to the case.
The woman had succumbed to brain injuries and severe internal damage in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital on December 29.

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