The Delhi High Court Friday commenced hearing on the confirmation of the death penalty awarded to four convicts in the Dec 16, 2012, gang-rape case here.
Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan, starting the arguments, briefed the court and said all the accused had conspired to rob and rape the victims.
“She (victim) was brutally gang-raped by each one of them. Even by the driver (Mukesh). They weren’t satisfied with rape and inserted iron rods into her. They both (the victim and her male friend) were thrown out of the bus in naked condition, and that was done with the intention of killing them,” Krishnan said.
Mukesh earlier in the trial court claimed that he only drove the bus and did not rape the 23-year-old student of physiotherapy who was returning home with a male friend after having watched a movie.
A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani heard the arguments of the prosecution on the death reference and the appeals filed by the accused against the sentence.
The bench, posting the matter for Nov 6, said it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis.
“We will hear the case on a day-to-day basis,” the bench said.
In the morning, before starting the hearing, the father and brother of accused Pawan and Mukesh informed the court that their counsel could not turn up for the case as he was attending some other matter in the Supreme Court.
To this, the bench gave counsel a last chance and adjourned the matter for one hour, saying it cannot grant any other date as sought by them, as according to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, “criminal cases were to proceed even without the counsel…”
“We gave this date (on last hearing) on your lawyer’s choice, if he doesn’t want to come, what can we do? We can appoint an amicus curae (government lawyer) for you, he will come on every date,” the bench said, refusing to give another date.
“The Supreme Court has said we cannot give dates in the criminal cases. We have to proceed even without counsel,” it added.
The trial court Sep 13 awarded the death sentence to Mukesh, 26, Akshay Thakur, 28, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Vinay Sharma, 20, convicted in the case, and referred the case to the high court for confirmation of their sentence.
Awarding death penalty to the four, the court said their “hair-raising beastly and unparalleled behaviour” definitely qualified as one of the “rarest of rare cases” that deserved the death sentence.
A 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus by six people, including a juvenile. The accused then threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle, stripped of clothing, to die by the roadside on the cold December night.
The woman died of grave intestinal injuries Dec 29 at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.
One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. A juvenile involved in the crime was, Aug 31, sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum term under the juvenile law.