Former Prez guards get life term for gangrape

Former Prez guards get life term for gangrape

Two accomplices get rigorous imprisonment

Showing no leniency to the former staffers, who had been deputed to guard the President of India, Additional Sessions Judge S K Sarvaria sentenced Harpreet Singh and Satyender Singh to life imprisonment for raping a 17-year-old girl.

Two others—Kuldeep Singh and Munish Kumar— were awarded 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for robbery and abduction.

The incident had evoked strong reaction from the then President, A P J Abdul Kalam. He had also directed the defence authorities to look into the matter.

The Army ordered a separate inquiry into the incident. On August 17, the court held them guilty under different provisions of the Indian Penal Code for rape, abduction, robbery and abetting of crime.

On October 6, 2003, a 17-year-old Delhi University student and her friend were together at Buddha Jayanti Park, near Rashtrapati Bhavan, when the four accused accosted them and took them to a lonely place.

They then roughed up the youth, while Harpreet and Satender allegedly raped the girl. The other two, Kuldeep and Manish, kept a watch.

Following an inquiry, the Army sacked the offenders, and the Delhi Police arrested them. They had been lodged in the Tihar Jail since their arrest.

Relatives of the accused said the court had succumbed to “media pressure”. They are planning to appeal against the order. “The order is very harsh, and it is all because of media pressure that the court gave my son life imprisonment. We will appeal against this order,” said Paramanand Singh, father of Satyender Singh.

Satyender pleaded his innocence to the court and said he was “being falsely implicated”. “There is no evidence that proves my involvement,” he said. Kuldeep Singh also said he was innocent. “I am innocent and how do I prove it to you (court). Please see my family before passing any order.”

Reacting to the sentence, defence lawyer Ranbir Singh said his clients would file an appeal before the Delhi High Court after receiving a copy of the judgment.

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