Two of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape case have told the Delhi High Court that they were wrongly convicted by the trial court as they were not inside the moving bus in which the girl was allegedly raped by six persons. Convicts, Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma, who filed their written submissions before a bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani, also said the trial court decision be set aside as it is "against the law".
"The trial court has passed the order without applying its judicial mind and without taking into consideration the facts and documents on record and has wrongly relied upon the version of the family members of the deceased," the convicts said in their submission.
The 34-page written submission was filed on Monday before the bench which on January 3 had reserved its judgement after marathon hearing spanning over three-and-a-half months and had asked the convicts to file the case laws and written pleas in support of their claims.
The court had also reserved its verdict on the reference sent to it by the trial court, which has sentenced four convicts -- Akshay, Vinay, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh - to death on September 13, 2013 for confirmation of the capital punishment. It is mandatory for the trial court to refer a death penalty case to the high court for confirmation of sentence within 30 days of the pronouncement of the verdict. A P Singh, the counsel for Akshay and Vinay, who filed the submissions on their behalf, said, "The trial court judge has failed to appreciate that the prosecutrix died prior to her transportation to Singapore."
The counsel also claimed that Vinay was Juvenile at the time of the incident and was only 17 years eight months and 15 days. Meanwhile, M L Sharma, the counsel for Pawan and Mukesh moved an application seeking to call 61 prosecution witnesses including the doctors and police officials to depose afresh.
During the trial, Vinay had claimed that his mobile phone had a video clip through which he can established that he was not in the bus during the crime and was present at a music function in south Delhi. However, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna rejected their claim of innocence and had held the four guilty on 13 counts including murder and gangrape of the girl.
They were given death sentence by the trial court which had said the "beastly" and "hair-raising" manner in which the crime was committed against the girl falls in the rarest of rare category.
Ram Singh, who was the prime accused, was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March last year and the proceedings against him were abated. The sixth accused, a juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal among them, was on August 31, 2013 convicted and sentenced to maximum of three years in a reformation home.
On the night of December 16, 2012, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gangraped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.
The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital.