The four convicts of the December 16, 2012 gangrape-murder case were hanged at 5.30 am on Friday. Their petitions seeking review were dismissed by the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court and a lower court in late-night hearings. Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern on the night of December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in New Delhi.
This was the first time four men were hanged together in Tihar Jail, South Asia’s largest prison complex that houses more than 16,000 inmates.
The death warrants had been stayed three times since January pending legal remedies of the four death row convicts. On March 2, the court had deferred the execution till further order observing that the “convict must not meet his Creator with a grievance in his bosom that the courts of the country have not acted fairly in granting him an opportunity to exhaust his legal remedies…”
A brief profile of the four involved in the 2012 December gangrape and murder case:
1. Akshay Kumar Singh (31)
A native of Aurangabad, Bihar’s Naxal-hit district, Singh was a helper on the bus that now deceased Ram Singh drove at the time of the crime. (Ram Singh allegedly hanged himself in Tihar Jail in March 2013). He had dropped out of school after Class IX. He was arrested from is native village on December 21, 2012. Singh is married and has an eight-year-old son.
If you recall, it is Singh who had in his review petition filed in the Supreme Court had sought mercy on the grounds that lifespan in the capital city is already shorter than average due to rampant pollution. The plea was rejected by the top court.
2. Mukesh Singh (32)
Mukesh is the younger brother of Ram Singh, the driver of the bus. Mukesh himself is an occasional driver and lived in the Ravi Dass slum area. After his arrest on December 18, 2012 from Rajasthan, Mukesh pleaded innocence in his statement and claimed he was driving the bus at the time of the crime.
When the BBC ran a documentary in 2015 called ‘India’s Daughter’, Mukesh was unrepentant and said “a decent girl won’t roam around at 9 pm”.
3. Ram Singh
In March 2013, Ram Singh, who is the elder brother of Mukesh Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case. Later, his lawyer and family claimed he was murdered. He was the driver of the bus in which the crime took place. Singh was 23-years-old at the time of the crime.
4. Pawan Gupta (25)
19-year-old fruitseller Pawan, and his father both denied his involvement in the crime. His father claims he is innocent. Pawan had claimed in court that he was not in the bus at the time of the crime.
5. Vinay Sharma (26)
A gym instructor, Sharma is accused of robbing the victim and her friend. On December 18, 2012, he was arrested from village Karoli in Rajasthan. Initially, Vinay had claimed he wasn’t on the bus at the time of the crime, but later admitted that he had committed a crime.
The juvenile was 17 at the time of the crime so he was tried as a minor. When he was found guilty of rape and murder on August 31, he was sent to a reform facility for three years. Upon his release from the rehabilitation home in 2015, there were widespread protests.
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