2 accused want to be state witnesses

Two of the six accused in the Delhi gang rape-cum-murder case have pleaded to serve as witnesses on behalf of the state in the court.

The judicial custody of Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh expired yesterday after which they were produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler on Sunday.

Won’t back down: Attendants carry Rajesh Gangwal, a protester on hunger strike, to the ambulance after his health was critical from not eating the last 13 days during a protest against the gang rape at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/AFP

While Pawan and Vinay wanted to be witnesses in the case,Ram Singh and Mukesh requested for legal aid for their defence.

The Magistrate had asked them to appear in court on January 7 as per the production warrant issued to them on Saturday.

Later, the magistrate dictated an order in the open court room stating, “All the accused persons were informed that they can seek legal aid in the case, if they have not engaged any counsel.

Accused Pawan and Vinay have refused to take service of the legal aid counsel and have submitted that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state.”

“Accused Pawan and Vinay have been directed to move an appropriate application to become witnesses in the case before the court concerned,” the Magistrate added.

Meanwhile, experts have claimed that the duo cannot serve as witness due to their involvement in a case of rape and murder.

The fifth accused, Akshay Thakur, whose judicial custody expires on January 9 will be produced before the court on Monday.

The trial of the sixth accused will be held before the Juvenile Justice Board if his bone marrow test proved him a minor. The court had taken the cognisance of offence on Saturday after the Delhi police submitted a chargesheet against the five adult accused on January 3.

They were charged under Sections of 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gang rape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) as per the Indian Penal Code.

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Four policemen were suspended and another shunted out after a 22-year-old woman who went missing was founded gang-raped and murdered, police said. The victim's family alleged that the main accused, Udaivir Singh Yadav, a resident of Bahlolpur, had not been arrested.

Naming of victim welcomed on social media
As the father of the Delhi gang rape victim revealed her name on Sunday, it rejuvenated the campaign for justice for the woman with a deluge of messages in the virtual world lauding the grief-stricken family’s decision and vowing support to it. The father, in an interview to a British publication said that his daughter didn’t do anything wrong and the revelation will give courage to other women. “Admiration and respect for the father for letting her name be known to the world. This will definitely strengthen our cause as well as give a face to this movement seeking strict laws for women,” Chhavi Singh Deo said on Facebook. Jay Thakkar, tweeted: “Courage, Bravery and Suffering now have a new common synonym”.

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