The Delhi High Court Monday upheld a trial court’s order awarding life imprisonment to five convicts for gangraping a 52-year-old Danish woman in the capital in 2014.
A bench of Justice S Muralidhar and Justice I S Mehta dismissed the appeals moved by the convicts — Mahender alias Ganja, Mohammed Raja, Raju Bhajje, Arjun and Raju Chhaka — challenging the June 2016 trial court’s verdict which had held them guilty of the crime.
“In view of the victim’s evidence, corroborated by the DNA report, this court is satisfied that the conclusion of the trial court on the guilt of the accused is correct. Accordingly, the appeals are dismissed,” the bench said.
The bench, however, pulled up the investigating officer over lapses on his part in not preparing a proper site-plan of the crime scene, saying this was “very important”, as it is very rare that there are witnesses to such crimes other than the victim.
It observed that if the woman was raped for five hours in a secluded area among the bushes, the IO has to “satisfy himself by standing at the mud hill of the construction area to see if the crime spot was visible”. “This basic exercise of reconstruction of the crime scene was not done in this case,” the court said.
On June 10, 2016, the trial court had awarded life imprisonment to the five, saying their “inhuman” and “brutal” acts of abduction and gangrape had put a stigma on the nation’s reputation.
According to police, nine persons, all vagabonds, had robbed and gangraped the Danish tourist at knife-point on the night of January 14, 2014, after leading her to a secluded spot close to the Divisional Railway Officers’ Club near the railway station.
Of the nine accused, eight were charged with gangraping the woman. While one accused died during trial, three are juveniles.