New Delhi, March 20 The four convicts in the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student were hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 5:30 am today amid slogans of ‘Nirbhaya zindabad’ and ‘live long Nirbhaya’ outside the jail premises.
After three of the four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case moved the Delhi high court Thursday evening challenging the trial court order declining to stay their execution scheduled for early Friday morning, Supreme Court today also rejected the petition of death row convicts and refused to defer the execution.
The four rapists were finally hanged seven years after they and two others brutally gang raped the 23-year-old physiotherapy student and left her to die by the roadside.
Pawan Gupta, a fruit seller, had moved the Supreme Court claiming that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence in 2012 and should be treated under the Juvenile Justice Act. The court, however, rejected his plea.
Akshay Thakur, a school dropout, hailed from Bihar and came to Delhi in 2011. He was the conductor of the bus in which the crime was committed and had fled the city.
Thakur was arrested a few days later from his native village in Aurangabad district. He had claimed that he was not in Delhi when the brutal incident took place but the probe revealed he was on the bus and involved in the crime.
Vinay Sharma was a fitness trainer and a resident of Ravidass camp, a slum in south Delhi. In 2016, Sharma had attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself in the Tihar Jail. He first took painkillers and then tried to hang himself with a towel in the cell.
Last December, Sharma had made a plea to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking immediate withdrawal of mercy petition. Through his counsel AP Singh, the convict claimed that the mercy plea sent to President Kovind by the Home Ministry was not signed by him.
Mukesh Singh is the younger brother of Ram Singh, driver of the bus who had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013. Mukesh Singh was a part-time bus driver and a cleaner. The two brothers also lived in Ravidass camp.
In 2013, a fast-track court in Delhi had held the four men guilty in the case. Their conviction was also upheld by the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court later.
In May 2017, the four convicts had moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order which confirmed the capital punishment awarded to them by the trial court. The top court also upheld their death penalty.
A Delhi court on Thursday refused to stay the execution of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition filed by Akshay Thakur challenging the rejection of mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The apex court had also rejected a plea filed by Mukesh Singh challenging a Delhi High Court’s order rejecting his claim that he was not in the national capital when the crime was committed.
The four convicts, along with two others including Ram Singh and a juvenile, had raped and brutally tortured a 23-year-old paramedic student on a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012.
The victim, who was accompanied by her friend, was thrown out of the bus. Thirteen days later, the victim succumbed to her injuries on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
The juvenile was sent to a reform facility and released after three years.
Advocate Singh said, “There are death warrants issued in the instant matter. The petition under Article 32 was fixed for today. At the time of the hearing, I submitted each and everything before the trial court. During the hearing in the Supreme Court, a trial court passed the order dismissing to adjourn the execution.”
The court observed, “There is no annexure, no affidavits, no memo of parties. There is nothing in this matter. Do you (AP Singh) have permission to file this plea?”
Responding to this, Singh said, “No photocopy machine was working due to coronavirus. I am facing trouble.”
“I have been so hopeless because of coronavirus. The photocopies are not available. I have everything but was not able to give copy because there are no means to get the photocopy done,” he added.
The court ruled, “You (Advocate AP Singh) have moved three courts today. You cannot say that things are not accessible. We are here at 10 pm listening to you.”
Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi Police/Tihar Jail Authority said that Pawan Gupta did not exercise his access to criminal appeal for two and half years.