A young German woman, who was gang-raped by five youths after being taken on a drive from an upscale hotel in Chandigarh last year, appeared before a local court here for the first time in connection with the case.
The victim was driven into the district court complex in Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Friday amid tight security. She was accompanied by an official of the German embassy from New Delhi.
The in-camera proceedings of the case are being held in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge RS Attri.
Court officials said that the court would hear only this gang-rape case for the next two-three days and no other matter would be listed before it during this period.
The victim has flown in from Germany to India for the case.
After the incident, the victim had maintained that she was only "molested" by the youth. It was the forensic examination of the victim by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) here that confirmed gang rape. The Chandigarh police then changed the case registered against the youths from molestation to rape and criminal intimidation.
The court here last month had framed charges of rape against the five youths who had allegedly sexually assaulted her after picking her from the upscale Taj Hotel in Sector 17 at about 2 am
The charges have been made against Pankaj, Manvir Singh Jolly, Harpreet Singh, Sompal and Sukhwinder Singh. All of them belong to well-to-do families from areas of neighbouring Haryana.
The young men had allegedly taken the German tourist in their black Scorpio SUV from the parking area of the hotel. She was taken to a farmhouse in Haryana's Ambala district, 60 km from Chandigarh, where she was sexually assaulted for several hours before being dropped in Sector 20 by one of the men the next evening.
She had come here with a Germany-based Indian friend to attend his wedding. The victim had gone to the Taj Hotel for coffee after having food and drinks at another place.
While her two friends sat in the hotel's coffee shop, she came out in the parking lot to smoke. It was here that she got talking to one of the youth who offered to let her drive the SUV. Later, his other friends came and they drove her away from the city.
The Chandigarh police has not only made tight security arrangements at Taj Hotel, the same place from where she was picked up in September, but also at the court during the visit of the victim. Translators from Panjab University have also been provided in the court to assist recording of statements as the victim cannot speak English fluently.