News Report on the sentencing of the four accused in the Nirbhaya Case.
By Gawa Norboo
New Delhi : The four men accused of gang-rape of a 23-year old physiotherapy paramedic, were found guilty yesterday. The fast track district court in Saket will pronounce the quantum of sentence tomorrow.
The four accused, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma were brought to the Saket Court complex at around 10 am amidst tight security and heavy media presence.
The other accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide while lodged in Tihar Jail on March 11, while the juvenile implicated in the case was found guilty of rape and murder on August 31 and sent to reformatory home for three years.
Before pronouncing his 230-page judgement, Judge Yogesh Khanna, praised the Police for its scientific presentation of evidence. The DNA samples, call records, dental models and finger prints secured by the Police enabled the prosecution to build a watertight case.
Advocate V K Anand, who appeared for Mukesh, said he will appeal against the conviction in the higher courts. The defence lawyer for Vinay and Akshay, Advocate A.P. Singh, alleged that the verdict had been delivered under political and public pressure. “Both the government and opposition want the convicts to be hanged with an eye on the coming elections.” said Singh.
The prosecution argued that the crime should be seen as an instance of ‘rarest of rare’ and thereby demanded the death penalty.
A small faction of protestors had also gathered outside the court complex, shouting slogans in favour of the death penalty.
“The criminals would have been given the death penalty if this had happened in Texas.” said Rhonda, a lady hailing from Texas, who has been living in India for past one year. Ever since the US Supreme Court lifted the ban on death penalty in 1976, 1,336 prisoners have been executed, more than a third of them in Texas alone.
The judgement comes eight months after the case went to trial in a fast track court, which is swift in comparison to the standard pace of the Indian judicial system to reach a verdict, and consequently a benchmark for all future cases.