Delhi gang-rape: Police file chargesheet against accused

They have been charged with murder, gang-rape, unnatural offence, destruction of evidence, attempt to murder, kidnapping, causing hurt while committing robbery, dacoity with murder, and common intent.

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police Thursday filed a 33-page charge-sheet in a city court against five accused in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical intern; an incident that sparked public outrage against the government.

The formal set of charges was filed against five of the six accused as the sixth person apprehended in the case claimed he is a minor and his case would be heard by the Juvenile Justice Board.

The charge-sheet was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover, who will consider it Jan 5.

A public prosecutor read out charges including murder, gang rape and criminal conspiracy. The court will examine the charges on Saturday, duty magistrate Surya Malik Grover said.

The five 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.

They have been charged with murder, gang-rape, unnatural offence, destruction of evidence, attempt to murder, kidnapping, causing hurt while committing robbery, dacoity with murder, and common intent.

An application was filed for concealing the identity of the victim.

"All the original documents have the name of the victim, so we are moving the application for concealing her identity," the application said.

Police urged the court to have in-camera proceedings but the court said it would decide the issue later.

The main formal charges would highlight that Ram Singh, a short-tempered man involved in crime, was instrumental in the Dec 16 assault.

He also used an iron rod on the victim with the help of Thakur and the minor co-accused, a police officer said.

The driver and Thakur will be accused of destroying evidence as they washed the bus after the incident at Noida, near Delhi, the officer said. They also burnt the victims' clothes.

Five men and a teenager have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The case against the five accused is processed by a new, fast-track court set up in response to the crime. The teenager is due to be tried in a juvenile court.

The father of the victim has demanded death for those who committed the heinous act and called for new legislation on sex crimes to be named in honour of his daughter.

He also backed the chorus of calls for those responsible to be executed.

"The whole country is demanding that these monsters be hanged. I am with them," the father told reporters in his home village of Mandwara Kalan in Uttar Pradesh.

The father said he was demanding a change in the law to allow for the execution of juveniles. One of the six accused has been reported to be under the age of 18.

The December 16 attack on the 23-year-old physiotherapy student and a male companion provoked furious protests close to the seat of government in New Delhi and has fuelled a nationwide debate about the prevalence of sexual crimes in India, where a rape is reported on average every 20 minutes.

The woman died of her injuries in hospital in Singapore, where she had been taken for treatment, on Saturday.

The woman has not been identified and nor have members of her family, in accordance with Indian law.

The woman was born in the village but the family soon moved to the capital, New Delhi.

The father said he was demanding a change in the law to allow for the execution of juveniles. One of the six accused has been reported to be under the age of 18.

The studious, ambitious young woman was determined to improve life in her village, the father said.

Days of protests in New Delhi and other cities followed the attack. Many of the protesters have been students, infuriated by what they see as the failure of the government to protect women.

Police have said the accused have admitted to torturing and raping the student "to teach her a lesson."

She fought back and bit three of them, a police source told Reuters, and the bite marks are part of the evidence against them.

After throwing her from the private bus, the driver tried to run the victim over but she was pulled away by her companion, a senior police official told Reuters.

Police have prepared a dossier of evidence and charges against the accused believed to run to 1,000 pages, including testimony from the woman's friend who survived the hour-long attack on the bus, and a man who said he was robbed by the same gang prior to the rape.

The woman's father told reporters he supported a proposal to name revised legislation in his daughter's honour.

"She is the one who has been sacrificed," he said.

Hanging is only allowed in the "rarest of rare" cases under Indian law. It was used for the first time in eight years in November when the lone surviving gunman from a 2008 militant attack on Mumbai, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, was executed.

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