Dispensing justice in less than nine months, a fast track court today held guilty all the four accused in the December 16 gangrape and convicted them of rape and "cold blooded" murder of a "defenceless" 23-year-old girl in a premeditated manner, which may fetch them death.
Holding Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur guilty on the basis of both traditional method and scientific evidence like DNA profiling, the fast track court headed by Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna convicted them on 13 counts.
The quantum of punishment will be decided later by the court which will hear arguments on sentence tomorrow.
The 237-page judgement, which came six days short of nine months of the incident that shook the nation's conscience, also found complicity of Ram Singh, who was found dead in Tihar jail during the trial.
During the brief proceedings, the judge observed that even though proceedings against Ram Singh (34) were abated on his death, "he is also convicted under same sections (gangrape, murder and other offences)." However, this does not form part of the judgement.
Besides gangrape, murder and conspiracy, the court held Mukesh (26), Vinay Sharma (20), Pawan Gupta (19) and Akshay Thakur (28) guilty of attempt to murder, unnatural offences, dacoity, destruction of evidence, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, while acquitting them of the charge of murder in dacoity.
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, voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery and dishonestly receiving property stolen in the commission of a dacoity.
"The facts of the case make all accused liable for the cold blooded murder of the defenceless prosecutrix and thus the offence under Section 302 (murder) read with Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC stands proved and the accused persons are thus convicted," the court said.
The court also said "... All the accused in pursuance of the conspiracy committed gangrape with the prosecutrix and thus are convicted under section 376(2)(g) (gangrape) of the IPC with the aide of section 120B IPC.
"It stood established that accused in pursuance of their conspiracy with accused Ram Singh (since deceased) and the JCL (tried by Juvenile Justice Board) committed murder of the victim with an intention to cause her death..."
The December 16 incident in which the paramedic was savagely gangraped and brutally assaulted led to nationwide streets protest that heralded changes in the law.
The changes provide even for death in the case of rape but the present case was heard under the old provisions of IPC that provides a maximum sentence of life term for rape.
The court said the accused adopted a unique modus operandi to do acts and it was an "intended act done with sole intention of causing death."
"Accused persons adopted a unique modus operandi to do the acts. They, besides causing external injuries, inserted rods in the abdomen of the victim. They did the act repeatedly and pulled out vital internal organs even by their hands. All these circumstances made the act of the accused an intended act done with sole intention of causing death.
The court inferred prior meeting of minds of the accused as it noted that after robbing the carpenter, Ram Adhar, they again brought the bus to Munirka bus stand where they enticed the victim and her male friend to board the vehicle making them believe that it was a public carriage.
"The conduct of accused in not allowing anyone else to enter the bus after the victims had boarded it and to move immediately away from the bus stop speak of their unlawful object and their prior meeting of minds," the ASJ said.
Rejecting the defence argument that the girl had died due to delayed medical aid and infection caught in the hospital during treatment, judge Khanna observed that "the important aspect of this trial is the manner in which both rods and hands were used for damaging the alimentary canal and pulling it out from the body (of the girl).
"This act of complete destruction of the most vital parts of the body can never be termed as intending to cause bodily injuries and rather it will be act done with intention of causing death."
The judge said they had conspired to gangrape her and the crime had been committed in a "premeditated manner".
"The accused are also liable for gangrape committed with the prosecutrix in pursuance to their conspiracy," the court said.
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