M A I N   N E W S

Prosecution seeks death penalty for rapists; sentencing tomorrow
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung/TNS

New Delhi, September 11
A fast track court on Wednesday reserved its order for Friday on sentencing the four men convicted for gang-raping a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern on a moving bus in the National Capital on December 16 last.

The Delhi Police demanded death penalty for Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur given the extreme brutality of the crime and so that the punishment would act as a deterrent. Stating that the case falls in the “rarest of rare” category, the prosecution argued that the court show no leniency because the convicts “were not moved by the girl’s incessant cries for mercy”.

Demanding minimum punishment — life sentence — the defence counsel said the four were the sole bread earners of their families and were young and should be given a chance to reform. He also said they were under the influence of alcohol when they committed the crime. After almost three-hour-long arguments from both sides, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna reserved the order on the sentencing for Friday afternoon.

Yesterday, the court had found all four guilty on 11 counts, including gang rape, unnatural sex, murder (of the girl), attempt to murder (of the girl’s male friend), abduction, dacoity and causing the disappearance of evidence. They had pleaded not guilty.

The victim’s mother appeared slightly annoyed over the delay in sentencing. “It is getting delayed. I will not get any peace until they are given the death sentence. They should be hanged,” she said.

Reporters gathered around her reminded her of the defence counsel invoking Mahatma Gandhi in court. He had said: "Only God can give life and only He has the right to take it away.” The girl’s mother shot back: “But Mahatma Gandhi didn’t say to hurt people. Why didn’t they (convicts) think of him when they hurt my daughter? She was screaming chhor do (leave me) when they were hurting her, so why should they be shown mercy.” Her son put his arm around her and walked her to a police Gypsy that escorted them out of the court.

The girl’s father was calm and reticent. “Everything inside the courtroom was said in English and I could not understand them. We will wait for the sentencing,” he said. He again demanded death punishment to the convicts.

Inside the courtroom, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said the crime committed was diabolic in nature. “The barbaric behaviour of the convicts was of the highest kind. Reformation of people like these… I don’t think there is a chance. There is no scope for sympathy,” he said.

If the convicts are awarded a light punishment, the public will lose faith in the judicial system, he said. “We will tell the society that this degree of deviance will not be tolerated. The sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death,” he said.

Advocate Sadashiv Gupta and Vivek Sharma, who appeared for Pawan Gupta, 19, a fruit seller, pleaded for mercy, citing his young age. “He is young and should be given one opportunity to reform,” he said. “He was under the influence of alcohol and the incident happened at the spur of the moment. The crime may be shocking, but the criminal may not be awarded death.”

(With agency inputs)

‘She cried for mercy’

  • The four convicts, dressed in T-shirts and jeans, stood at the back of courtroom no. 304 at the District Court, Saket, and showed no emotions throughout the arguments; the victim's parents sat in the second-last row
  • The prosecutor said the convicts should get maximum sentence as they killed a helpless woman and “were not moved by the girl’s cries for mercy”
  • The defence pleaded that the accused be shown mercy as they had no history of indulging in criminal activities, their families depended on them financially, they were young and should be given a chance to reform





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |