Robbery case: Dec 16 gangrape convicts move HC against sentence

New Delhi: Three of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape and murder case have moved the Delhi High Court challenging the 10-year jail term awarded to them by a trial court in a robbery case.

Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, who were convicted for dacoity and dishonestly receiving stolen property, have alleged that the trial court's order was "bad in law" and "against the principle of natural justice".

Besides the trio, the trial court on September 2 last year had also awarded 10 year imprisonment to convict Mukesh, saying they "do not deserve any leniency".

It had also imposed a fine of Rs 1.01 lakh each on the four convicts, who are currently lodged in Tihar jail. The convicts in their appeal, filed through advocate A P Singh, have sought setting aside of the trial court's decision saying the judgement did not pay "heed towards facts produced by the accused persons during the trial of the case".

The plea stated that the prosecution has failed to prove its case and had not placed any material evidence, which could point to their guilt.

"Trial court had passed order (conviction and sentence) without applying its judicial mind and without taking into consideration the facts and documents placed by the convicts on record and has wrongly relied upon the version of the complainant," the convicts have said in their appeal.

They have sought bail during pendency of their appeals. Six persons, including a juvenile, had beaten up and had robbed carpenter Ram Adhar before raping and brutally assaulting a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi
on the night of December 16, 2012. Thirteen days after the assault, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment, but succumbed to her injuries.

As per the charge sheet in the robbery case, the police had alleged that bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay, along with the juvenile, had snatched the 35-year-old carpenter's mobile phone and Rs 1,500 after luring him into the bus.

Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty on September 10, 2013 by a trial court here in the gangrape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court on March 13, 2014. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court.

Out of the six, accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013 and proceedings against him were abated. On August 31, 2013 the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Board sentenced the minor accused to a three-year stay in a special home for gangrape and murder of the girl. The juvenile, now 20-year-old, was recently released from the reformation home.

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