A 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh was gruesomely beaten, gang-raped and tortured in a moving bus by Ram Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh and a juvenile on 16 December, 2012 when she was travelling with a friend in New Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries 13 days later at a Singapore hospital.
Ram Singh, who was the prime accused, was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March, 2013 and the juvenile was on 31 August convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home by the Juvenile Justice Board. The fate of four death row convicts in the sensational case will be decided on Friday as the Supreme Court would deliver its verdict on their appeals challenging the Delhi High Court judgement.
Besides dealing with the challenge to the conviction, the apex court will also deliberating on the issue of quantum of sentence to the convicts as it has been alleged that the trial court did not separately consider "mitigating" circumstances of each convict while sending them to the gallows. While Delhi Police had sought capital punishment for the convicts, the defence counsel had said they deserved leniency considering their poor family background and young age.
The four remaining culprits were awarded capital punishment on 13 September, 2013 by a trial court. The court had said that the “beastly” and “hair-raising” manner in which the crime was committed against the girl fell in the rarest of the rare category.
The matter then moved to the Delhi High Court which had reserved its verdict on 3 January, 2014 after a marathon three-and-a-half-month long hearing on the death sentence reference sent to it by the trial court and the appeals of the four convicts. Here is a brief profile of the main accused in the case, which had drawn a great deal of attention.
Who are Jyoti Singh's killers
Younger brother of Ram Singh, Mukesh lived in a two-room shanty in Ravi Dass slum in South Delhi with his brother. He worked as an occasional driver and cleaner on the bus. Mukesh has been charged with raping as well as hitting the victim and her friend with an iron rod. It was alleged that he — and not Ram Singh — was driving the bus when they picked up the couple. In the court, Mukesh said that he was driving the bus and the other five raped the woman and assaulted the couple.
A gym assistant and fitness trainer, Vinay Sharma, was the neighbour of Ram Singh in Ravi Dass slum. Of those convicted, Vinay was the only one who has had a school education and knows spoken English. Vinay had sought a month's bail to appear for his first-year university examination. However, his request was turned down by the judge. University officials and jail authorities were asked to make arrangements for Vinay to appear for his exams inside Tihar Jail. In court, Vinay claimed that he was not on the bus when the crime took place and that he had gone to a music function along with co-accused Pawan Gupta
Akshay was the helper on the bus and was arrested from his native village in Bihar on 21 December, 2012, five days after the crime was committed. Along with rape, murder and kidnapping, Akshay was convicted of trying to destroy evidence by helping to wash the bus after the attack. A school dropout, Akshay moved to Delhi in 2011 and in the court, he denied being on the bus and said that he left Delhi on 15 December — a day before the crime was committed — and reached his hometown in Bihar the next day.
A fruit-seller, Pawan claimed in court that he was not on the bus at the time of the crime and had gone to attend a music function with Vinay. Pawan's father, Heera Lal, who appeared as a witness in the trial court, said his son was "innocent" and had been "falsely implicated". Heera Lal said Pawan had closed his shop in the afternoon of 16 December, 2012, and left for home. Heera Lal said he went to the park along with his brother-in-law and took Pawan home.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: May 05, 2017 11:26 am | Updated Date: May 05, 2017 11:25 am