New Delhi:The brutal gang-rape on the night of December 16, 2012,finally gets the verdict. Nine months after horrific gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi triggered nationwide outrage, a special court on Friday sentenced to death four convicts in the case.
Additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna announced the punishment in a packed courtroom at around 2.30 pm.The sentence has to be confirmed by Delhi high court.
Holding that the crime committed on a moving bus was in the “rarest of rare category”, the court noted that the girl and her male friend were brutally assaulted, her abdomen ripped apart with an iron rod and internal organs pulled out.
They were thrown out of the bus moving at a high speed and the accused tried to run the vehicle over them. She was left on the road half-naked, seriously injured, severely bleeding and shivering in the winter chill.
The judge had convicted Mukesh Singh, 26, Vinay Sharma, 20, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Akshay Thakur, 28, on September 10, holding that there was strong evidence they had committed the brutal gang-rape and a “cold-blooded murder”.
Their underage accomplice, who has since turned 18, has been sent to a reform home for three years after a juvenile board handed down a guilty verdict on August 31.
The main accused in the case Ram Singh was found hanging in his Tihar jail cell on March 11.
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan had demanded noose for all convicts for the “grotesque and diabolic” crime.
“There is no chance such criminals can be reformed. If death is not given to such criminals, the common man will lose faith in the courts. Society feels no woman is safe. It is for the courts to change that perception by handing down harsh punishment.”
Lawyers for the four convicts had pleaded for mercy saying they were young, did not have previous criminal records and should be given a chance to reform. The court rejected the plea.
The court had convicted the accused of gang-rape, murder, conspiracy, attempt to murder, unnatural offences, dacoity, destruction of evidence, kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confining a person, abducting to subject a person to grievous hurt and slavery, abducting woman to cause her defilement.
The court mainly relied on the three dying declarations of the victim, the statement of her male friend, DNA analysis, forensic and electronic evidence to hold them guilty.
Judge also orders compensation for victims family The operative part of the judgement, handing down the death sentence to the Delhi convicts also orders the four men to pay a total of Rs 55,000 each to the 23-year-old victims family. The sentence says, “The convicts, namely, convict Akshay Kumar Singh Thakur, convict Mukesh, convict Vinay Sharma and convict Pawan Gupta Kaalu are sentenced to death for offence punishable under section 302 Indian Penal Code. Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead. Fine of Rs.10,000/- to each of the convict is also imposed and in default of payment of fine such convict shall undergo simple Imprisonment for a period of one month.
In addition to this, the judge also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 for each of the sections of the IPC that they were convicted under: namely sections 365, 366, 376, 377, 307, 201, 395 and 412. The judgement also calls for appropriate punishment under 357-A Cr.P.C which is an order to pay compensation.
Kiran Bedi: Death sentence sends right message to society, Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi said that the decision by the Delhi sessions court to give all four accused in the Delhi case the death sentence sent the correct message to all of Indian society. “Clear message to parents and teachers and community at large. Be responsible! Or be hung! And lose your life. Thanku for Justice Done!”, she tweeted shortly after the verdict.
Victims Father:He thanks police after death sentence Soon after the sentencing was read out, the Delhi rape victim’s father thanked the police, saying that justice had been done to his daughter and family.
“I am very happy, I thank everyone, the public and the media”, he said. The victims mother said that her fight was not over, though she was happy with the verdict. Soon after the news filtered out, minutes after the hearing began, the judge had pronounced the death penalty for all four convicts, crowds of agitators gathered outside began to applaud. The victims mother, who was inside the courtroom, told reporters, “Dil ko sukoon mil gaya” (My heart is at peace).However she also said that the battle was not over.
Prosecution Lawyer: “Today after so long we have got the judgement, it is victory for all. The family and those who have been protesting across Delhi”, he said to the media. “The judiciary of the country has been upheld. We thank the media and the people of the country for their support. What the defence lawyer is saying is lies. This judgement was not politically motivated. The evidence was watertight”, he said.
Defence Lawyer:You have upheld “Jhootameva jayatey, says Defence lawyer to judge Defence lawyer AP Singh snapped at the judge and alleged his verdict was politically biased.
“Judge saab aap satyameva jayathey ke jagah jhootameva jayatey ko uphold kiya, ye political pressure-eva jayathey hai, vote bank politics eva jayathey hain,” said Singh who was defending Vinay Sharma and Thakur in court. (You have not upheld truth but lies. This decision has been taken under political pressure and for vote bank politics.)