New Delhi: Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler, who had on Saturday taken cognisance of the chargesheet against the five accused in the gangrape and murder of a paramedical student in a moving bus in Delhi, ordered an in-camera trial on Monday and the removal of people not connected with the case from the court premises.
All the five accused in the barbarous Delhi gangrape-murder case were produced in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate in Saket where they were given copies of the chargesheet. The court will hear the case at 2:30 pm on January 10. The case has not yet been transferred to a fast track court.
Earlier, there was high drama inside the Saket court. Members of the Bar association created a chaos after two lawyers offered to represent the accused, two of whom have reportedly expressed desire to turn approver. The members of the Saket Bar Association had earlier decided not to defend the accused.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the age of the sixth accused in the brutal gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical students continues. The Juvenile Justice Board will take up the matter of verifying the age of the accused minor who claims to be 17.
The sixth accused, who claims that he is less than 18 years of age, will be presented before a Juvenile Justice Board which has already summoned his school principal to determine his exact age. If the controversy over his age is not resolved then he could be directed to undergo a bone ossification test, which can provide the approximate age of the accused. If the board take the view that the accused is above the age of 18, he could be tried as an adult in the fast-track court.
Reports say that two of the accused have expressed a desire to turn approvers, but the police top brass have not confirmed this yet. Out of four accused, who were produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate inside her chamber after expiry of their 14-days of judicial remand on Sunday, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma refused to take the service of legal aid counsel and expressed their willingness to become witnesses in the gangrape-cum-murder case reportedly.
Besides the two, Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh who were also produced before the court, have asked for legal aid counsel in the case for their defence. Legal experts feel that an accused cannot hope to become a witness especially in a case of heinous crime like the Delhi gangrape-cum-murder to escape punishment.
Usually in a case where investigators find it difficult to gather evidence, they could ask for an accused to become an approver to get crucial evidence and in return, the accused could get lighter sentence or escape punishment, the experts said.
The magistrate, had on Sunday, extended their judicial remand till January 19, and asked them to appear before the court concerned on January 7 as per the production warrant issued to them after taking cognisance of the chargesheet filed against the accused on January 3.
"All the accused persons were informed that they can seek legal aid in the case, if they have not engaged any counsel. Accused Pawan and Vinay have refused to take service of the legal aid counsel and have submitted that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state," the magistrate said in the order dictated in the open court room after the accused were sent back to jail.
The court also said, "Accused Ram and Mukesh have not engaged counsel so they want legal aid. They be provided the legal aid counsel. "Let all the four accused persons be produced before the court concerned on January 7."
A court had taken cognisance of the chargesheet against five of the accused yesterday under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (2)(g) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences), 395 (dacoity), 396 (murder in dacoity), 394 (hurting in dacoity), 201 (destruction of evidence), 120-B (conspiracy), 34 (common intention) and 412 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the IPC.
The Delhi braveheart, a paramedical student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus in New Delhi on the night of December 16 and died of her injuries on December 29 in multi-speciality Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
(With additional information from PTI)