That fateful night nine months ago, they showed the young woman no mercy, raping her repeatedly and pulling her intestines out with an iron rod. On Tuesday, a special court found four of the men accused of the December 16 outrage guilty; now the shadow of the gallows looms large over them.
The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta were guilty of the attack on the 23-year-old woman in a bus on December 16, ruled additional sessions judge Yogesh Khanna in a jam-packed courtroom.
A combo picture of the four men convicted in the December 16 Delhi gang-rape case.
“The evidence makes all accused liable for the gang rape and cold-blooded murder of the defenceless prosecutrix ... It will be an act done with intention of causing death,” said the judge. The guilty | What nailed them
Besides gangrape and murder, the court held Mukesh (26), Vinay Sharma (20), Pawan Gupta (19) and Akshay Singh Thakur (28) guilty of attempt to murder, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder. Gang of four: the men held guilty in Delhi gang-rape case
Judge Yogesh Khanna, presiding the court, also convicted them for kidnapping or abducting with intent to secretly and wrongfully confining a person, abducting to subject a person to grievous hurt and slavery, abducting woman to cause her defilement, and voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery of the IPC.
As soon as the verdict was delivered, Pawan broke down while Vinay was in a state of shock.
Mukesh was heard saying "that they would have to face the consequences for what they have done". The fourth convict Akshay seemed unaffected. We will have to suffer for what we did: Delhi gang-rape convict
"All the accused have been convicted for various offences including attempt to kill the complainant (victim's male friend), for gangrape with the victim and also for unnatural sex with her and killing the victim..."
"The accused have also tried to destroy the evidence after the incident, so they are convicted under section 201 of the IPC. They had abducted the victim to have illicit intercourse with her, so they are convicted under section 366 of the IPC," the judge said while pronouncing the judgement.
The murder charge, for which the four men have been convicted, entails a maximum of death penalty and life term as the minimum punishment. Delhi gang-rape convicts 'accept' verdict, protesters demand death
While pronouncing the verdict, the judge said, even though the proceedings against accused Ram Singh (34), who was found dead in his prison cell after he committed suicide on March 11, were abated, "he is also convicted under same sections (gangrape, murder and other offences)".
The court relied on the dying declaration of the victim, forensic evidence, including finger prints, dental models, DNA samples and other medical reports of the convicts, electronic evidence and the statements given by them to the police after their arrests.
The judge also said that the presence of the convicts in the bus in which the crime was committed has been established through the location of their mobile networks. who said what in court?
Before pronouncing the over 230-page judgement, the judge thanked the Delhi Police, the prosecution team and the defence counsel for bringing the case to its conclusion.
Defence lawyer A P Singh alleged the verdict has been delivered under pressure and the four men will now be punished for the offences which they have not committed.
Advocate V K Anand, who appeared for Mukesh, said he will appeal against this conviction in the superior courts as he was only driving the bus.
Mukesh's mother was seen crying in the court while the other family members refused to speak.
The four have been tried for offences under section 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder), 365 ( kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), and 394 (voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery) of the IPC.
The court said the dying declarations of the victim, statements of 85 prosecution witnesses, DNA, forensic and electronic evidence proved the guilt of the accused.
Full Coverage: she lit a flame
After the savage attack, their daughter, a 23-year-old paramedical student, fought bravely for her life and was airlifted to Singapore for treatment. But her injuries left her with no real chance and she died on December 29. From jail, her attackers watched TV bulletins about her health with trepidation; when she lost her battle to live, their battle to dodge the hangman began.
Prosecution sources said that lawyers will demand death sentence for all four as the crime was “rarest of the rare in terms of brutality involved”. Their case was bolstered by the court taking serious note of the cruelty involved in the crime, observing “rods and hands were used for damaging her internal organs”.
Sentencing arguments are due to begin today, but final closure for the victim's parents could be months away as the case could progress through higher courts and appeals. Defence lawyers immediately said that they would challenge the verdict in the Delhi High Court.
The victim had said in her dying declaration that the accused during the rape inserted iron rods into her body, ripped out her internal organs, beat her and bit her all over.
A juvenile has already been sentenced to three years in a correctional facility, while a fifth defendant, bus driver Ram Singh, was found hanging in his prison cell in March while awaiting trial.
Read More: dateline of the case
The victim and her male friend had spent the evening watching a movie at a mall in south Delhi when they were picked up by a private bus. The six men on the bus subjected the couple to a horrifying 45-minute ordeal that ended with both of them thrown out of the bus, virtually unconscious and naked.
"We are happy with the conviction. Now we expect the judge to sentence all of them to death", said the woman's father after the verdict.
"We will get complete closure only if all the accused are wiped off from the face of the earth. This is what they did to our daughter most brutally," he said.
The victim's brother said, “Today’s verdict has certainly taken a weight off our shoulders. It will send a strong message. But nothing less than death penalty is acceptable.” Dec 16 gang-rape case: A fit case for death penalty?
(With PTI inputs)
Gang of four: the men convicted for Delhi gang-rape
Ram Singh: the main accused behind the ghastly crime
She wanted tormentors to be burnt alive: Delhi rape victim's friend