But lawyers for the convicts Mukesh (26), Vinay Sharma (20), Pawan Gupta (19) and Akshay Thakur (28) pleaded before the fast track court, which held them guilty, for leniency citing Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote that "Only God can give life and only He has the right to take it away"
At the conclusion of the three-hour long arguments, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna reserved for Friday afternoon its order on sentence against the convicts who were held guilty on Tuesday of gang-rape, murder, unnatural sex and robbery and other offences which can fetch them death.
"The crime is not only grotesque and diabolic in nature but the barbaric behaviour of the convicts was of the highest kind.

Prosecutors demand capital punishment for all convicts

"Reformation of people like these. I do not think there is any chance," Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said while arguing on the quantum of sentence. 

Advancing his arguments, Krishnan said death sentence should be awarded to the four convicts as the case falls in the category of "rarest of rare" cases. Pointing out the nature of crime as 'rarest of rare', he said the convicts had raped and killed a young helpless girl, even as she pleaded for her life and "none among the six were moved by the girl's incessant cries for mercy."
Even as the defence counsel sought a chance for reformation for the convicts, Krishnan said "there is no scope for sympathy". He said people at large are watching this case and if the convicts are awarded a lighter punishment, the public will lose faith in the judicial system.
"If the maximum sentence is not given, the message will go to the society that deviance of this nature will be tolerated. This is an extreme case of depravity and sexual assault. The act to damage the girl's intestines intentionally leaves no scope of sympathy. 
"We will tell the society that this degree of deviance will not be tolerated. The sentence which is appropriate is nothing short of death. If death is not given, the society will lose faith in the judicial system," Krishnan submitted.
The prosecutor said that as per an apex court judgement when there is murder after gang-rape, the sentence should be death penalty.
During the court proceedings, convict Vinay appeared teary-eyed while the other three attended the hearing with straight faces. In their reply, advocate A P Singh, appearing for convict Vinay and Akshay, claimed innocence and asked the court if giving death to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's killer Beant Singh prevented the execution of her son Rajiv Gandhi.
Initiating the arguments for the convicts, Pawan's counsel Vivek Sharma and Sadashiv Gupta said "Pawan was under the influence of alcohol and the incident happened on the spur of the moment. The crime may be shocking but the criminal may not be awarded death."

Pleading for leniency, they said the convict comes from a modest background and was earning livelihood by selling fruits and all the money went in maintaining the family.

Urging the court to adopt a reformative approach, the counsel said "justice should not be only for the victim, to the case but also to the convicts. The debate is still going on whether elimination of life is justified or not. "We fail to appreciate why the same attitude and course is not adopted in other such cases related to heinous crimes."      

After Pawan, convicts Vinay and Akshay presented their arguments on the sentence and quoted Mahatama Gandhi, saying "God gives life, God alone can take it."
Singh said Vinay used to donate blood to those in need and said "when he donates blood to unknown persons also, how can he take somebody's life?"
Even after being held guilty, Vinay reiterated that he was not in the bus on the night of the incident but was at a musical event, a stand he had maintained during the trial. His counsel said Vinay is a young student of BA I year in Delhi University and a law-abiding citizen of India who is "just a victim of circumstances".
He also said he was working as a gym trainer at Siri Fort to earn money for his studies and to take care of his brother, a younger sister, who is of marriageable age and another sister who is a diabetic.
Convict Akshay said he was working as a bus cleaner and hails from Naxal-hit area of Bihar and had come to Delhi due to unemployment in his state.

Delhi gang-rape: Court convicts all 5 accused 

"He had come to Delhi just two months before this incident and was in his native place on the day of the incident. He also has a young illiterate wife and a son aged two and half years," his counsel said.
Akshay also reiterated that he is totally innocent and a man of good moral character among his relatives, neighbours and even the inmates in judicial custody. "Terror suspects have been acquitted. These boys are not terrorists. Batla House encounter accused got life, why are these men being considered for death? Did the hanging of Kasab stop terror strikes in India? "Will death penalty for these convicts stop rapes?, he said.
Terming the case as "politically motivated", Singh said "both the government and the opposition wants the convicts to be hanged to get vote bank in coming elections.
"There are 250 MPs and MLAs who are sitting in Parliament even after being accused of crimes like rape and corruption."  

Mukesh's counsel, V K Anand, during his arguments seeking leniency, said "the accused have been convicted as they were not defended properly during the trial."
"I (Mukesh) have cooperated in the investigation and it is an admitted fact that at the time of the incident, I was drunk and was not in my state of mind. So, error may have occured.

"It doesn't mean extreme penalty should be given," he said, adding the "court should not go with the sentiments of the people who are demanding death penalty for the convicts. He is young and unmarried and his family has already lost one son. I beg for life. I beg for mercy."

Concluding the arguments on sentence, the prosecution rebutted the defence pleas and said "reformation of people like these..I do not think there is any chance.
"Some crimes are so outrageous that the society also demands strict punishment," Krishnan said on the defence plea that the court should not be swayed by the society's demand for death.
"In rape, you destroy the very person of the victim and violate the basis of her existence but in this case you (convicts) brutalized the victim to such an extent...they cut open her digestive system from top to bottom like you split open a fruit.
"There is outrage by torture. I feel not only I, but also the society feels that no woman is safe in today's society. "Now, it is for the court to decide, to change and reverse the existing feeling," he said.

After the conclusion of the arguments, two of the defence counsel was attacked by a group of protesters outside the court complex.
On August 31, the juvenile accused was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.


Remaining glued to the TV empty stomach since morning, family members of Akshay Thakur, one of the four declared guilty, felt some relief that worst did not come today and hoped God would be kind when punishment would be pronounced on Friday.

Accused Akshay Thakur’s family pinning hopes on divine intervention
Thakur's father Saryu Singh, a marginal farmer, mother Malti Devi, wife Punita Devi holding her two-year-old son and brothers Abhay and Vinay along with some other relatives shut themselves inside home and were watching TV since morning to know the court's order, a close relative of the accused said requesting anonymity.

DECEMBER 16,2012:  Timeline of Delhi gang-rape case

On the night of December 16, last year, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and the juvenile had gang-raped the girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads.
The limbs of the victim's friend, a software engineer, were fractured in the incident. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at a Singapore hospital.


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