Families of those accused of having brutally raped and assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in South Delhi on Sunday have expressed bewilderment at their alleged involvement in the case.

Hari Ram Sharma, father of accused Vinay, who lives at Ravidas Camp in R. K. Puram, told media persons that on the fateful night, Vinay was in the house when his friend Pawan alias Kalu came looking for him and they left for somewhere around 8 p.m. Hari Ram, who works with a private company at Delhi airport, said his son returned around 10 p.m., had dinner and went off to sleep.

According to the police, the accused was in the bus when the victim and her male friend boarded the vehicle with tinted glasses in Munirka around 9-15 p.m.

Vinay, who works as a helper in a local gymnasium, was picked up by the police from his house for questioning around 8 p.m. on Monday. Although his father expressed ignorance about his son’s role in the gang-rape, he said Vinay should be punished if at all he had raped the victim. Vijay has a younger brother and two sisters.

For her part, Pawan’s sister claimed that her brother was innocent and that he could not have committed such a crime. She expressed ignorance about his involvement in the gang-rape case. She said her brother sold fruits in a nearby market at R.K. Puram and usually remained there till 10 p.m. Investigations by the police revealed that Pawan and Vinay had resumed work on Monday, hours after having raped the victim and brutally assaulting her and her male friend with iron rods and also robbing another passenger of his belongings.

All the accused live in the same locality and are friends.

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