New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on the appeals filed by four death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape case.
A bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani reserved its judgement after marathon hearing spanning over three-and-a-half months, in which both the police and the four convicts concluded their arguments on the appeals.
The court has also concluded arguments and reserved its order on the reference sent to it by the trial court, which has sentenced four convicts — Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh – to death on September 13, 2013 for confirmation of the capital punishment.
It is mandatory for the trial court to refer a death penalty case to the high court for confirmation of sentence within 30 days of the pronouncement of the verdict.
Before reserving the verdict, the bench has examined the iron rods, which was allegedly used by the convicts during the commission of the crime on the night of the incident and also the victims clothes pieces.
It examined the CCTV footage of the bus, in which the 23-year-old girl was assaulted by six persons. The bench further examined the video clippings of Vinay’s mobile phone.
During the trial, Vinay had claimed that his mobile phone had a video clip through which he can established that he was not in the bus during the crime and was present at a music function in south Delhi.
However, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna rejected their claim of innocence and had held the four guilty on 13 counts including murder and gangrape of the girl.
They were given death sentence by the trial court which had said the “beastly” and “hair-raising” manner in which the crime was committed against the girl falls in the rarest of rare category.
The convicts in their appeal had pleaded innocence and had contended that they have been implicated by the police.
“The entire case is outcome of torture and fabrication just to please the political bosses. There is length of lacuna which gives clear indication of fabrication of evidence against them,” advocate M L Sharma, the counsel for Mukesh and Pawan, had submitted.
The counsel had said that the government issued a statement on December 23 vowing to punish the rapists even when no sample was sent to CFSL to ascertain that the accused were the culprits.
“This shows that this case was not investigated. It was prepared at the behest of MHA and the political bosses,” he had told the bench.
Ram Singh, who was the prime accused, was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March last year and the proceedings against him were abated.
The sixth accused, a juvenile, who was most brutal among them, was on August 31, 2013 convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.
On the night of December 16, 2012, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gangraped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.
The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital.