Tihar jail authorities on Saturday said that the claim of one of the death-row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case that he has mental illness was “bundle of distorted facts”, PTI reported.
The convict, Vinay Sharma, had reportedly banged his head against the wall of his prison cell on February 16 and approached a court to seek medical treatment for “grievous head injury, fracture in his right arm, mental illness, and schizophrenia”. The court rejected his request on Saturday.
Public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, representing the jail authorities, told Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana that Sharma had inflicted “superficial” injuries and was not suffering from any psychological disorder. “These claims are all a bundle of distorted facts,” he said. “Doctor attended to him and found there was an injury. They gave him medicine. All injuries are self-inflicted and superficial in nature.”
“The medical records say he is not suffering from any such mental illness and his checkup in any hospital is not required,” Ahmed said. “He is under regular check by the jail doctor.”
A psychologist, who appeared on behalf of the prison authorities, said medical checkups of all four convicts in the case are done on a daily basis and all of them are fine.
Sharma’s lawyer in his plea for medical aid had also claimed that he had been unable to recognise people, including his mother. “He talked to his mother and lawyer,” the prosecutor argued on Saturday. “So it’s wrong to say that he is not able to recognise them.”
However, the defence counsel cited a plaster on the convict’s hand to claim that he has a fracture and not “superficial” injuries. “Why did the jail conceal the fact about his injuries from the court,” Sharma’s lawyer AP Singh asked. “Why are documents not being filed?”
The prosecutor claimed it was not a fracture but “only a slab around his hand”.
The four convicts in the case – the other three being Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta – are scheduled to be executed at 6 am on March 3.
During Monday’s hearing on the death warrants, the court was informed that Sharma had declared on February 11 that he was on a hunger strike. His counsel had then argued that he could not be hanged since he was suffering from mental illness, adding that he was assaulted in jail and had head injuries. The court had instructed Tihar officials to take appropriate care of the convict.
The execution of the four convicts has been postponed twice. The death warrants were first issued for January 22, and then postponed to February 1 because of the mercy pleas filed by two of the convicts.
On February 14, the Supreme Court dismissed convict Vinay Sharma’s petition challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by the president. Sharma had filed the mercy petition on January 29, and it was rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind on February 1.
The four convicts, and two others, raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. The gangrape triggered huge protests in the Capital and across the country. One convict died in prison, while a minor convict was sent to a detention home for juveniles and was released in December 2015.