Saturday, April 19, 2014

Police narrate how Delhi rape victim was lured; to file criminal charges against suspects

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Photo: guardian.co.uk

The suspects in the Delhi rape case have all been arrested.

Police in the Indian capital on Wednesday said they are preparing criminal charges against the six suspects in the gang rape that killed a student; as new details emerged on the crime that sparked anger across the country.

“We expect to file formal charges in court on Thursday unless practical issues crop up,’’ Delhi Police spokesman, Rajan Bhagat, said.

The charges would be filed against five men accused of raping the 23-year-old woman on a moving bus. A sixth suspect claimed to be a minor and would be tried in a juvenile court unless he were proven to be of age, Bhagat said.

The trial was expected to be conducted on a daily basis by one of the special courts dealing with crimes against women established in the wake of the December 16 attack and scheduled to begin functioning on Thursday. The charges would include new information about the crime, including an alleged attempt by the driver to run over the woman and her male friend after they were thrown out of the vehicle, the Times of India newspaper reported, citing police sources.

The woman also reportedly bit three of the assailants and evidence taken from those injuries was expected to be included, it said.

She and her male friend had gone to a movie at a mall in south Delhi and were waiting at a bus stop when one of the suspects coaxed them to board his vehicle around 9:30 p.m., saying it was going in their direction. The police said it was a private school bus and the six men were out for a joyride after work hours, trying to pick up passengers to make money to pay for drinks.

When the bus started taking a different route, the woman’s friend objected. The men then locked the only functioning door and one of them made a lewd comment about her, a police source was quoted as saying.

That led to an altercation and one of the suspects hit her friend on the head, arms and legs with an iron rod, which was later used to brutalise the woman. The men took her to the back of the bus and raped and beat her for more than 40 minutes while they took turns driving the bus around, the report said. The assailants stripped the couple of their clothes and belongings and dumped them on the road near the airport. They reportedly also tried to back the bus over them, police said.

The woman suffered severe internal injuries and genital damage, doctors at the Safdarjang Hospital said. She underwent several surgeries, including one to remove part of her intestine. She was kept on a life support system but had brief intervals of consciousness when she communicated with police and gave a statement to a court officer.

“They were referring to each other by their first names which got etched in the victim’s mind. She was able to recall them as soon as she began communicating with us,’’ a police officer was quoted as saying.

Investigators collected forensic evidence, including strands of skin and hair from the victim’s nails. DNA testing has been done on the bite marks found on three of the suspects, police said. All six suspects are in custody.

The woman was flown to a Singapore Hospital on December 27 but died two days later of multiple organ failure.

The crime sparked protests nationwide demanding measures to ensure women’s safety and stricter laws for sexual crimes against women. Protesters who gathered near the Jantar Mantar area in New Delhi for the 16th day, Wednesday, demanded speedy justice for the victim who has become a symbol of violence against women in India.

Police said they will seek the harshest punishment permissible. Under current Indian law, the maximum punishment for rape is life imprisonment but murder in rare cases can bring the death penalty.

dpa/NAN

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