Several charges, including that of murder which carries death penalty, were on Thursday filed against all the five adult accused in the gangrape case in which a 23-year-old Delhi girl lost her life, prompting nationwide protests recently.
The five, including the driver of the bus in which the gangrape took place on December 16, were charged with murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code.
The case of the sixth accused, a juvenile, will be filed before the juvenile justice board.
In the 33-page charge sheet with annexures running into several hundred pages, was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover with the prosecution urging the court to keep the document in a sealed cover to protect the identity of the victim and that the proceedings be held in-camera.
The court has posted the matter for hearing on January 5 before the area magistrate who is expected to commit it to sessions for trial. The prosecution alleged that the crime was executed in a 'well-planned' manner.
"We have invoked section 120-B as all the six accused have committed the crime in a well-planned manner," public prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told mediapersons.
"Each one of them has a specific role in the commission of the offence. So they are equally liable for the crime. We have sufficient evidence against all the accused including the juvenile offender," he said.
Mohan said the DNA report has established the involvement of all the accused in the crime. The five accused are Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
The role of the juvenile offender is also elaborated in the chargesheet. Apart from the victim's male friend, who was also assaulted in the bus, the charge sheet names around 40 people as witnesses to support its case against the five accused.
The accused have also been charged with attempt to kill the male friend in the bus, whose owner has also been arrested and remanded to police custody by a Tis Hazari court on Thursday.
The police also told the court it would also place before it the chargesheet in electronic form and sought more time for the same saying the annexures to the charge sheet are bulky.
It sought more time for filing the e-charge sheet and was allowed to do so by January 5.
As the chargesheet was filed, some lawyers and public shouted slogans in the court demanding that the accused be handed over to public. They need not be tried as it is evident that they are the culprits, they contended.
They were, however, hushed up by fellow lawyers, who requested the judge to appoint a 'spokesperson' who can during the trial of the case inform one and all about the daily developments as the matter has touched public sentiments.
The judge asked them to put their views before the area magistrate concerned on the next date of hearing. Before the filing of the charge sheet, women lawyers protested in the court complex demanding swift justice and strict action against the perpetrators of such crimes.
The male friend's maternal uncle, who is also an advocate, told mediapersons that he would keep a tab on daily proceedings and if the police fails to take up the case properly during the trial, he would move the high court for redressal.
He also said he would also move the high court requesting 'for treating the juvenile at par with the other co-accused'. The filing of the charge sheet in the jam-packed court did not go without drama. Before the proceedings, the courtroom was locked from inside and was opened only after the lawyers protested.
The charge sheet was filed at 17.30 hours, 30 minutes after the normal court hours. This prompted the judge to ask the public prosecutor for the reason behind filing the charge sheet at the late hour.
Mohan said the investigators took time to put bulky documents along with the chargesheet in an orderly manner. Later, he told reporters that the charge sheet would be
filed against the juvenile offender shortly and the documentation work for that is less taxing than that in the case of the other accused.
He also said as per the law the court will also hold an inquiry to ascertain the age of the juvenile. A woman advocate, who is empanelled with the Delhi Legal Services Authority, said in any case the accused would be provided with legal aid.