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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Delhi gang-rape: sentencing of guilty reserved for September 13

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 11, 2013
First Published: 10:10 IST(11/9/2013) | Last Updated: 23:35 IST(11/9/2013)

Amidst arguments for capital punishment and defence counsel’s pleas for leniency, the fast track court reserved the decision on sentence for the four Delhi gangrape convicts to Friday.

The arguments on the sentence have ended. Now the sentence will be announced on Friday at 2.30pm.

The four-- Mukesh Singh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma—were declared guilty by the court on Tuesday of raping and murdering the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern on the basis of her dying declaration, forensic evidence, DNA samples, electronic evidence and the testimony of her friend and prime eye witness to the gory incident.

On Wednesday, public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan strongly presented the demand for death penalty before the court. He prayed before the court ‘show no mercy for merciless convicts’. It was a premeditated crime, which fell in "the rarest of the rare category", warranting "the death sentence, he argued.

The men had used a metal rod and their hands to pull the woman's organs from her body after raping her, the prosecution said. Her injuries were so severe that she died in hospital two weeks after the attack.

Judge Yogesh Khanna, who found the four guilty of "cold-blooded" murder, was hearing arguments from the prosecution and defence on sentencing. The minimum sentence the men could receive is life in prison.

Defence counsel appearing for Pawan Gupta, one of the convicted in the Dec 16 gang rape and murder case, pleaded for mercy citing his young age. Gupta, a fruit vendor, is 19 years old.  Defence counsel also said the crime was committed on the spur of the moment and was not premeditated. 

Counsel opposed the prosecution's demand for death penalty for the convicted, and said life imprisonment may be given to Pawan instead of death.  Pawan is "just 19 years old and there are chances of his reform", the advocate said.  Arguing on the quantum of sentence in the case, the prosecution sought death penalty for the four men accused who were convicted for the gang rape and murder of the physiotherapist intern.

Meanwhile, the court also rejected the defence lawyers' plea to issue contempt notice to home minister Sushilkumar Shinde for predicting death for convicts.
       
The police had charged six persons in the incident. The case against one of the main accused, Ram Singh, was dropped following his death in Tihar Jail during the trial earlier this year.

The sixth juvenile accused was held guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board on August 31, and was sent to a remand home for three years.

The charges in the instant case were framed on February 2 during which the court also invoked section 366 IPC against them for abducting the girl with the intention of committing "illicit intercourse".

It had in its order described the juvenile as an associate of the adult accused, who committed gang rape in furtherance of the conspiracy and "common intention."


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