Two gang-rape accused want to be witnesses

Desperate bid to escape harsh punishment

Two gang-rape accused want to be witnesses

Two of the six accused in the Delhi gang-rape case on Sunday told a court that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state, apparently in a desperate bid to escape punishment,. However, two others pleaded for legal aid.

Four accused arrested in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist on December 16 were produced before a city court on Sunday. Their 14-day judicial custody was about to expire. Now, the court has extended it till January 19.

The four were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler inside her chamber.
Two of them, fruit seller Pawan Gupta and gym instructor Vinay Sharma, refused to take the service of legal aid counsel and expressed willingness to become witnesses.
The other two, Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, who were also produced before the court, sought legal aid counsel in the case.

Legal experts feel that an accused “cannot hope to become a witness, especially in a case of heinous crime like the Delhi gang-rape-cum-murder, to escape punishment.”
Usually, in a case where investigators find it difficult to gather evidence, they may ask for an accused to become an approver to get crucial evidence. In return, the accused may get lighter sentence or escape punishment, the experts said.

Remand extended

The magistrate, meanwhile, extended the judicial remand of the accused till January 19 and asked them to appear before the court concerned on January 7 as per the production warrant issued to them after taking cognisance of the charge sheet filed against the accused on January 3.

“All the accused persons were informed that they can seek legal aid in the case, if they have not engaged any counsel. Accused Pawan and Vinay have refused to take the service of the legal aid counsel and have submitted that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state,” the magistrate said in the order dictated in the open court room after the accused were sent back to jail.

When the magistrate asked Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma whether they wanted any legal help, they said they would like to reveal what had happened in the bus.

But brothers Ram Singh and Mukesh Singh said they wanted a lawyer to fight for them in their defence. The magistrate said the accused were informed that they could seek legal aid if  they had not appointed any counsel.

The order reiterated that Pawan and Vinay had refused to take the service of the legal aid counsel and said that “they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state.”

The order stated that they had been directed to move an application to become witnesses before the court concerned. About the brothers, the order stated that they should be provided with legal counsel.

All the four accused will be produced before a city court on Monday after a court on Saturday took cognisance of the 33-page charge sheet filed by the Delhi Police. Police will also produce five of the six accused, including Akshay Thakur, before a court on Monday.

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