'Convicts' mental illness claim on distorted facts'

Nirbhaya Convicts' mental illness claim bundle of distorted facts: Tihar

Tihar jail authorities Saturday termed as a "bundle of distorted facts" the claim by one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder that he is suffering from mental illness.

The authorities told Additional Sessions, Judge Dharmender Rana, that CCTV footage established that the convict, Vinay Kumar Sharma, had inflicted "superficial" injuries on himself and was not suffering from any psychological disorder.

The court has reserved its order on Sharma's plea seeking relief on grounds of mental illness and is likely to pronounce it shortly.

"These (convict's claims) are all a bundle of distorted facts. The doctor attended to him and found there was an injury. They gave him medicine. All injuries are self-inflicted and superficial in nature," the public prosecutor representing jail authorities said.

"The medical records say he is not suffering from any such mental illness and his checkup in any hospital is not required. He is under regular check by the jail doctor," he said.

The psychologist, who appeared on behalf of the jail, said regular medical checkups of all four convicts were done on a daily basis and they are all fine.

"He talked to his mother and lawyer. So it's wrong to say that he is not able to recognise them," the prosecutor said.

The defence counsel said the convict has a plaster on his hand that shows he has fractured and not superficial injuries.

"Why did the jail conceal the fact about his injuries from the court? Why are documents not being filed?" advocate A P Singh, appearing for the convict, asked.

However, the Tihar authorities said "it's wrong to say he had a plastered arm. It wasn't a fracture. It was only a slab around his hand."

In his plea, Vinay has sought better treatment for his alleged mental illness, schizophrenia and head and arm injuries.

According to prison officials, Sharma injured himself by banging his head on his prison cell's wall in Tihar Jail.

The incident happened in jail number 3 on Sunday afternoon, they said, adding that he got some minor injuries and was treated at the prison premises.

The plea claimed that when Sharma's counsel visited him in prison on the request of his family members, he found that he had sustained a grievous head injury, fracture in his right arm with plaster and was suffering from "insanity", "mental illness" and "schizophrenia".

Sharma could not identify his counsel and his mother in jail, it said.

The petition further claimed that he had "decreased sleep" for a long time and was referred to a senior psychiatrist in view of drug dependence.

The court had on February 17 issued fresh death warrants for execution on March 3 at 6 am against the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

It had issued fresh warrants against death row convicts -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay (26) and Akshay Kumar (31).

This is the third time that death warrants have been issued against them.

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