Delhi gang-rape accused get defence lawyers

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The five accused in the Dec 16 gang-rape who were presented in a Delhi court Thursday have got lawyers to defend them.

Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal, conducting the proceedings in-camera, fixed Jan 14 for scrutiny of documents filed with the charge-sheet in the case.

The court had earlier passed an order for in-camera proceedings and curbed media from attending and reporting proceedings.

The five accused in the case are bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, fruit seller Pawan Gupta, gym instructor Vinay Sharma and bus cleaner Akshay Thakur. All of them are now in Delhi's Tihar Central Jail. The case against the sixth accused, said to be a minor, is being heard by the Juvenile Justice Board.

The main accused in the case, Ram Singh has appointed advocate V.K. Anand as his counsel, while Mukesh appointed Manohar Lal Sharma.

Gupta will be defended by his counsel Vivek Sharma, while Akshay Thakur and Sharma will be represented by advocate A.P. Singh.

According to a defence lawyer, the police have moved an application for bringing the accused handcuffed to court.

Meanwhile, the court issued notice to the Delhi Police and asked it to file its response on an allegation by an advocate that police and the Safdarjung Hospital were negligent in dealing with the case and the victims.

Police Jan 3 had filed the charge-sheet against five out of six accused in the brutal gang-rape of the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus, leading to multiple-organ failure and her death.

All the accused also assaulted her 28-year-old male friend. Both were thrown out of the bus after around 40 minutes, naked, bleeding and shivering. The friend will be the main witness in the case.

The police have charged the five under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gang-rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 365 (kidnapping or abduction with intent to secretly or wrongfully confine a person), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention), 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property), and 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code.

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