Dec 16 gang-rape bus: Owners want it back on road

New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) Pleading that livelihoods depend on it, owners of the white-coloured bus with black-tinted windows, in which the 23-year-old student was gang raped on the night of Dec 16 last year, want it back on the roads.

With a Delhi court pronouncing death for the four accused, the family of the bus owner, who is behind bars for submitting forged documents to get the vehicle's registration certificate, wants it back.

The bus, with Yadav Travels painted on its body in bold, is currently parked outside the Saket police station in south Delhi. Most of its windows are smashed and the tyres have gone flat. The interiors are filled of cobwebs and dust. The once yellow curtains and red seats have turned black with dirt and grime.

"We want the bus back. It was unfortunate that the gang rape took place inside it. But the livelihood of Dinesh's wife and two daughters depends on the bus," an uncle of Dinesh Yadav, who did not wish to be named, told IANS. Dinesh Yadav is the owner of the bus and is behind bars for forging its registration certificate.

"As the trial in the case is over, we will apply to the court to get back the bus," the relative said. The relative said they will soon apply to the District Court in Saket to seek its return.

The bus with registration number DL 1PC 0149 was traced a few hours after the gang rape from south Delhi's R.K. Puram area. It was parked outside Ravi Das Camp where four of the six accused stayed. Police got a lead to the bus from CCTV pictures taken from a hotel in Mehrauli situated along the road. The bus had passed the road twice, raising the police's suspicions and helping in making the arrests.

Yadav's wife said she and her daughters' survival was getting tougher by the day as all their 11 buses have been impounded due to fake registrations. "As the gang rape case has ended, we hope now we will get our vehicle back," said Yadav's wife, who did not reveal her name.

This IANS correspondent met the family members when they had come to attend Yadav's bail hearing on Sep 23.

Yadav, 35, was arrested from his residence in Rasoolpur Nawada village near Noida on Jan 2. He had allegedly given a false affidavit about his residential address to get the bus registered with the transport authority at Burari in north Delhi.

Police had registered the case against Yadav under Sections 420 (cheating) and 181 (false statement on oath to public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. His filing a false affidavit came to light during probe into the gang rape, said police.

Police while verifying the address of the bus owner realized that Yadav, who lived in Noida, had 11 buses registered in his name at the address H No 11/11, Gali No. 12, Kamal Pur, Burari, Delhi.

During investigations, it was found that Yadav had given wrong address for registration of all his buses.

According to a police officer, the owners can get back the bus as 'case property' on "superdari", under which they have to give an undertaking that they will produce the bus in court whenever required.

The trainee physiotherapist and her male friend boarded the bus at Munirka bus stand. The woman was brutally gang raped by six males, including a minor, during the 45 minute ordeal after which the couple was dumped naked and bleeding on the road in Mehrauli. The woman died of her injuries after 13 days in a Singapore hospital, where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.

Of the six accused, the juvenile has been sent to a remand home for three years, the maximum sentence permissible under the law, while four others have been sentenced to death Sep 13. One accused was found dead in Delhi's Tihar Jail.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at alok.s@ians.in)

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