Two Dec 16 gangrape accused seek bail

Two of the main accused in the December 16 gangrape, Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma have sought bail from a fast-track court. The two of the five adult accused who had allegedly gangraped the girl, have moved their bail applications in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna who is conducting the proceedings behind closed doors, their counsel told the media persons outside the court room.

Mukesh’s bail plea to attend the post-death rituals of his elder brother Ram Singh, also an accused who had allegedly committed suicide in his prison in Tihar jail on March 11 was filed by his advocate ML Sharma. Accused Vinay Sharma has also moved his bail application through his counsel AP Singh saying he is a BA first year student and that due to the case his studies were being “affected”, Vinay’s counsel claimed.

“Mukesh should be given 15 days interim bail so that he can attend the post-death rituals of his brother, which is scheduled for March 25-26 at his village in Rajasthan,” his counsel said. However, both the counsel said that they have given their submissions in the court.

Bringing up the recent death of another accused Ram Singh who was found hanging in his cell in the high security Tihar jail on 11 March as one of the grounds for seeking bail, Vinay Singh’s counsel told reporters that Ram Singh’s death had “terrified the other accused” and that they were been being “physically and sexually abused” in the prison.

The Delhi gangrape case is being heard by a fast-track court in Saket. The court, which has till date recorded statements of 55 witnesses in the case, on Thursday concluded recording of statement of the 60th prosecution witness in the case. With the proceedings against the main accused Ram Singh having abated after his death on March 11, the remaining four adult accused Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta are facing trial in the case for rape and murder of the girl.

The four accused are on trial for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old student and attack on her friend on the night of December 16. The fifth accused, a juvenile, is facing trial before the juvenile justice board. The girl had died on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital due to the grievous injuries she suffered when she was brutally assaulted by the six accused.

Gangrape case: Supreme Court defers hearing over counsel row

A day after two lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court claiming to represent one of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, the sessions Judge has been asked by the court conducting the trial to find out who the actual counsel was and if he wanted to pursue the case for transferring the trial to a court outside Delhi.

A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the hearing after the advocates indulged in verbal dual and began making claims and counterclaims for representing accused Mukesh. Refusing to hear the case, the sessions judge has been asked by the Supreme Court bench to find out who the accused’s actual counsel was.

As soon as advocate ML Sharma, who claimed to have filed the plea on behalf of accused Mukesh to seek transfer of trial to Mathura in UP on the ground of prejudice and charged atmosphere, started arguments, another lawyer VK Anand objected saying Sharma was no more associated with the case.

It was then that the Supreme Court bench asked the advocate-on-record to appear before it at noon to find out the truth. When the matter was again taken up after lunch, Anand did a U-turn, saying he has been authorised by the accused to represent him only in the trial court.

Sharma then alleged that Mukesh is being tortured by the police and Anand was trying to create hindrance in hearing of the transfer plea in the gangrape case in which arguments on charges will commence from Thursday.

The court then directed the sessions judge to talk to Mukesh and find out the truth behind these allegations and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

Mukesh, who along with four others, has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, has alleged that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials are under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and hence, a fair hearing is not possible. “The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all,” Mukesh’s plea said.

Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been charged with offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC. Their sixth accomplice is a juvenile and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.

Explain allocation of 194 coal blocks, SC tells govt

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the government, asking it to explain whether it had followed its own policies and guidelines in the allocation of 194 coal blocks.

While issuing the notice, the apex court bench headed by Justice RM Lodha also asked the government to explain why it did not follow the bidding process laid down in a 2004 policy.

The notice has to be answered by the coal secretary in eight weeks.

The bench observed that it would look into the issue even if parliament’s Public Accounts Committee was examining the matter.

The court order came on a public interest litigation by advocate ML Sharma who sought the scrapping of the allocation of all 194 coal blocks and a probe into irregularities in the allocation.