The Delhi high court on Monday upheld the trial court’s order awarding life imprisonment till death to five convicts for gangraping a 52-year-old Danish woman in the national capital in 2014.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta dismissed the appeals moved by the five convicts — Mahender alias Ganja, Mohammed Raja, Raju Bhajje, Arjun and Raju Chhaka — challenging June 2016 trial court’s verdict which had held them guilty of the crime. Dismissing the convict’s appeals, the high court held that the testimony of the victim and the DNA report, which was a clinching piece of evidence, have nailed the guilt of the convicts.
The trial court had on June 10, 2016 awarded life imprisonment till death to the five rapists, saying their “inhuman” and “brutal” acts of abduction and gangrape had put a stigma on the reputation of the nation. The trial court had held the five men guilty for the offences under IPC sections 376 (D) (gang rape), 395 (dacoity), 366 (kidnapping), 342 (wrongful confinement), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention).
According to the police, the nine persons, all vagabonds, had robbed and gang-raped 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. Out of nine accused, eight were charged with the counts of gang-raping the woman, while one accused died at the fag end of the trial. Three of them are juveniles.
The victim had come to New Delhi on January 1, 2014, and stayed for a couple of days before leaving for Agra. After visiting several places, she returned to Delhi on January 13, 2014, and stayed in a hotel in Paharganj near the station. The next day when she was returning to her hotel, she lost her way and asked one of the accused for directions when the men waylaid and gang-raped her.
Rejecting the plea for a lenient punishment by counsel for the accused, the trial court had said that “they do not deserve any leniency. She had been subjected to such inhuman act continuously for five long hours, and during this period she was beaten when she tried to save herself, the accused did not show any mercy when she pleaded them not to rape her as she had AIDS.”