New Delhi: First they brutally beat and gang-raped the 23-year-old medical student in a moving bus. Then, they threw her and her friend, also badly beaten, out of the bus. And then, the six men accused of murdering the young woman in a case that has shaken a nation's conscience, allegedly tried to drive the bus over the couple.
The friend pulled her to safety, just in time, police sources say. This is one of many shocking details now emerging of what happened on the evening of Sunday, December 16, as the Delhi Police puts together a 1000-page chargesheet which it plans to submit in a Delhi court on Thursday.
The sources said the police chargesheet is likely to give details of the horrific brutality of the six men and the valiant attempt of the young woman and her friend, hopelessly outnumbered, to fight them off. In that effort, as she was pinned down and raped, the young woman bit three of the men assaulting her. The bite marks on the three accused men are likely to be part of the Delhi Police's evidence, the sources say.
The woman died on Saturday last after a 13-day struggle to survive injuries so grievous that her intestines had to be removed and she had three major surgeries and a cardiac arrest before being flown to Singapore. She died in hospital there of severe organ failure. The Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she died is expected to send its post mortem report to the Delhi Police soon. It will be one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in the case that the police is building against the six accused.
Key testimony also lies in the statement of the software engineer who was accompanying Amanat (NOT her real name) on the bus and was assaulted with an iron rod by the six drunk men on board when he tried to protect her.
According to the police, when the woman and her male friend boarded the private bus at the Munirka bus-stop in south Delhi, they saw some men sitting inside, who seemed to be passengers. The unsuspecting couple, the police sources say, did not know realise that all these men were, in fact, part of a group. A little later, as the bus moved, the men came together and confronted the woman for being out late with a man. A scuffle began and the woman's friend reportedly hit out at one of the accused; his friends pulled out an iron rod and began to beat up first the man and then the woman too, because she put up a fight.
Sources say the police has found out that the girl was taken to the back of the bus and held down by two of the accused, a man named Akshay Thakur and another who is a minor and cannot be named. As she fought the men, the woman bit Akshay, the main accused Ram Singh, and another man accused, Vinay Sharma. Forensic tests will establish who bit them, say police sources.
One of the charges against Ram Singh, the driver of the bus, is destruction of evidence; he allegedly washed down the bus to erase all proof of the crime and also burnt the clothes that the men had snatched off the victims before throwing them on the road.
The police have added dacoity to the list of charges against the six men; they have already been charged with murder, attempt to murder, gang-rape, kidnapping and robbery. The first draft of the chargesheet, sources say, cites around 30 to 40 witnesses, including the doctors who treated the student, first in Delhi, and then at the Singapore hospital.
While in critical condition in hospital, Amanat shared her testimony with two different judges. Her account was not video-taped, but will be the most important evidence in the trial. Daily hearings have been promised by the Delhi High Court and the government, to ensure that a verdict is reached quickly.
Senior police sources say that the chargesheet has been vetted by legal experts, and that the police will ask for the death penalty for the six men who have been charged with Amanat's rape and murder. The minor cannot be tried in court. A report will be sent to the Juvenile Justice Board, which will handle his case.
The police has also filed a cheating and forgery case against the bus owner Dinesh Yadav for gaining permit to operate buses on basis of papers with forged address.
The unabated monstrosity of the attack on Amanat has walloped India, stirring anger and protests, with thousands pledging to fight in her memory for better safety for women and tougher laws for those convicted of rape. Activists also point out the need for fast-track trials for rape cases to counter the perception that the notoriously slow legal system allows those accused of sexual and other crimes to escape punishment.
(With inputs from PTI)