On the eve of the judgment in the December 16 gang-rape case, parents of three of the accused — Ram Singh (deceased), his brother Mukesh and their neighbour Vinay — appeared resigned to the fate that the three would be held guilty for the “mistake they made”. However, they are hoping that their sons escape the gallows.
A fast-track court here will pronounce the verdict in the case almost nine months after the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang-raped and fatally assaulted in a moving bus.
While the trial was on, Ram Singh was found dead at Tihar Jail, where he was lodged with co-accused Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma. The fast track court abated the proceedings against him.
The juvenile accused in the case was held guilty by the Juvenile Justice Board on August 31 and sent to a correction home for three years.
Vinay Sharma’s mother Champa Devi spoke to The Hindu outside her house at Ravi Dass Camp in R.K. Puram on Monday. She blamed Ram Singh and Mukesh for dragging her son along with them. Ms. Devi is worried for her son’s safety given the strong public outcry evoked by the case.
“People are angry. Now that Vinay’s picture is public, they will lynch him if they get a chance. After the incident, I met my son a few times in jail and during his court appearances. Each time, he reiterated that he and Pawan were coaxed into the crime by Mukesh and his brother. And even if Vinay made a mistake, they should be given a chance to reform,” she said, adding that her family had no contact with Ram Singh’s family after the incident.
It was not just Ram Singh and Mukesh who drew Ms. Devi’s ire.
Given that her son might be sentenced to death, she appeared disappointed with the fact that the juvenile accused had gotten away with a lighter punishment.
Pawan’s parents were not at home when this correspondent visited his house in the same locality.
Mangi Lal and Rambai, the parents of Ram Singh and Mukesh, told The Hindu on Monday evening that they were on their way to the Capital from their village in Rajasthan to hear the judgment.
“We have spoken to Mukesh a few times after his elder brother’s suicide and he told us that he was just driving the vehicle and did not harm either the girl or her friend. The juvenile accused has been found guilty and it is unlikely that others, including Mukesh, won’t be. It is for the court to decide on the quantum of punishment for him but I as a father, I would want my son to get a lenient punishment,” said Mr. Lal.