Delhi Gang-rape: Five accused plead not guilty

A special fast-track court today framed charges against five accused over 16 Delhi brutally gang-raped and murder case of a 23 year-old medical student who later died from her injuries in a Singapore hospital.

All accused entered not guilty pleas at the court in New Delhi, sources said.

Judge Yogesh Khanna passed an order to frame 13 charges against all five men under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The accused will finally face trial start from Tuesday for which maximum sentence is death under the new rules of India’s cabinet approved Ordinance

Recording of evidence in the case would also start on February 5.

The victim’s male friend will be the major one, be present in the court to give statements against accused. Police will also file chargesheet next week on basis of evidences including the post-mortem report.

The trial would start Tuesday with call of three witnesses by prosecution along strong evidences including blood stained clothing, DNA matches, mobile phone records, confessions and eye-witness statements, A.P. Singh, a lawyer for two of the accused, told reporters.

The five accused included bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh, have pleaded not guilty for all charges including murder, gang-rape, sodomy and kidnapping.

Presently accused are lodged in Tihar Jail, while sixth accused whom the Juvenile Justice Board declared a minor last month is kept in special room and will be produced before the board for hearing.

The hearing in the case had started on January 21 at the fast-track court, set up last month to try the case which had led to a nationwide protest, following Delhi gang rape case.

Cabinet’s Ordinance recommends death penalty for those guilty of crimes against women, even in extreme cases. However, the minimum punishment will be raised to 20 years for gang rape and rape of a minor and to death penalty for those rapes that leads to death of the victim or leaving her in a vegetative state. Still, amendments of Criminal laws must be ratified by Parliament.

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