The four men convicted of raping and murdering a 23-year-old Delhi woman on a moving bus in December have been sentenced to death Friday, a punishment that requires that approval of a high court.
Mukesh Singh, 26, Vinay Sharma, 20, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Akshay Thakur, 28, were convicted Tuesday of committing "cold-blooded murder" the night of December 16, said judge Yogesh Khanna.
"Court cannot turn a blind eye to such a gruesome act," the judge said, handing down the maximum punishment. "When crime against women is rising on day-to-day basis, so, at this point in time court cannot keep its eye shut."
The girl was assaulted, her abdomen torn apart with an iron rod and internal organs pulled from her body. She and her male friend were thrown out of the bus at high speed and Singh, who was driving the bus, tried to run them over.
"There should be exemplary punishment in view of the unparalleled brutality with which the victim was gang raped and murdered, as the case falls under the rarest of rare category," the court said. "All be given death."
The four men were found guilty of murder, gang rape, unnatural sex, criminal conspiracy, dacoity, destruction of evidence, kidnapping and attempted murder of the male friend, the only eyewitness to their crimes.
A fifth convict, Singh's older brother Ram Singh, committed suicide in jail in March, and a sixth convict was a juvenile and will spend three years in a reformation home.
The driver's attorneys tried to get his conviction reduced, claiming he was only driving, but the court determined culpability is the same for all the accused, and said the attempt to run the victims over was proof Singh tried to kill them.
"They first attempted to throw them out of the moving bus from its back door," the court said, "but since it was jammed, they dragged both the victims in an injured, unconscious and naked condition by pulling their hair to the front door of the bus and presuming them to be dead, threw them out on a chilly night, that too at a very dangerous place, the main Jaipur highway."
The judge said the crimes were clearly premeditated, as the men lured the victims onto the bus and made them believe it was going to their destination, and committed in an extremely brutal manner.
"They, besides causing external bodily injuries, inserted the rods in the abdomen of the victim," the court said. "They did this act repeatedly and pulled out internal organs even by their hands."
"This act of complete destruction of the most vital parts of the body can never be termed as intending to cause bodily injuries and rather it will be an act done with intention of causing death," they said.}
The older Singh brother and the juvenile both raped the 23-year-old victim twice, and Akshay once. After she and her friend were dumped on the side of a road, she was flown to Singapore but succumbed in a hospital two weeks later due to the severity of her injuries.