Delhi gang-rape: Fresh production warrants against two convicts

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued fresh production warrants against two of the four men who have been awarded the death penalty in Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape-cum-murder and asked them to appear on Wednesday.

A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani ordered production of two convicts - Mukesh and Pawan Gupta - after their counsel withdrew from representing them.

Tihar Jail authorities were told to produce the convicts before the court Wednesday while hearing the trial court's reference for confirmation of the death penalty awarded by it to the four men.

A 23-year-old woman was brutally gangraped on a moving bus by six people, including a juvenile. The accused then threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle, without clothes, to die by roadside on on the cold December night. The woman died of grave intestinal injuries Dec 29 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.

One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi's Tihar Jail while the juvenile involved in the crime was Aug 31 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum term under the juvenile law.

Mukesh's counsel V.K. Anand told the bench that he can't represent his client as convict's family is interfering with his work.

"I have prepared the appeal, but I could not file the appeal. I want to withdraw from this case as Mukesh's family members are interfering in his work on the instance of certain counsels. Court should discharge me from the case," Anand told the court.

Additional Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishanan also informed the court that advocate Vivek Sharma, who was representing Pawan Gupta, also telephonically informed about his withdrawal as a lawyer from the case.

"He (Anand will) not be representing convict Mukesh in this appeal. He has informed...Suresh, brother of convict. Additional Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan states that as per his information advocate Vivek Sharma, who was representing Pawan Gupta also intends to withdraw from the case," the court said.

Discharging counsels of Mukesh and Pawan from the case, the bench added: "In this case production warrant will be issued for the production of Pawan Gupta and Mukesh for Oct 9 at 3.30 p.m."

After Anand said he wants to withdraw as a lawyer from the case, the court said: "In that case we have to appoint an amicus to assist us in the case."

Anand volunteered himself for amicus, but court declined saying it would be unfair.

Advocate A.P. Singh told the court that he has already filed an appeal against the conviction in the case on behalf of Pawan and Akshay Thakur. However, Mukesh and Pawan's appeal are yet to be filed.

The trial court Sep 13 while awarding death sentence to Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20), had referred the case to the high court for confirmation of their sentence.

The trial court has to refer each death penalty case to the high court for confirmation of the punishment.

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