The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition by Mukesh Singh, one of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 gangrape and murder case, who had challenged a trial court’s dismissal of his plea stating that he was not in the city when the crime took place, ANI reported.
Singh and the three other convicts – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta – are scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi on March 20 for raping and brutally assaulting a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012.
On Tuesday, Singh’s lawyer ML Sharma had moved a petition on his behalf, stating that he was arrested from Rajasthan and brought to Delhi on December 17, 2012, a day after the incident. He alleged that the prosecution deliberately hid evidence to implicate Singh in the case, Live Law reported. The petition sought quashing of his death penalty.
“Prosecution deliberately concealed documentary evidence regarding lifting of Singh from Karoli in Rajasthan to falsely implicate him in the case,” the lawyer said, according to PTI. “If the prosecution would not have fraudulently withheld documents by the Rajasthan Police and Delhi Police, he would have been pronounced innocent by the court.” He added that the court should direct the police to file a verification report in the matter.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had lashed out at Singh’s lawyer for moving the petition in a “callous” manner when the courts are already overburdened and hard-pressed for time. The judge said that he had “miserably failed” in discharging his duties as a lawyer to bring forward all the facts to ensure effective dispensation of justice.
Multiple petitions by convicts
All four convicts have filed multiple petitions over the last few months in an attempt to stall their hanging. Their mercy petitions have been rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind.
On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected Singh’s petition seeking the restoration of all his legal remedies on the grounds that his former lawyer had misled him. Singh had sought the cancellation of all orders passed by courts and the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind, alleging that his lawyer Vrinda Grover had acted against his interests.
Thakur, Sharma and Gupta had also approached the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands seeking a stay on their “unlawful execution”.
Sharma had approached the Delhi High Court claiming “constitutional irregularities” and procedural lapses in the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind last month. He claimed that the recommendation sent to the President to reject his mercy plea did not have Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain’s signature.