A Delhi court on Wednesday fixed January 18 for pronouncing judgement in the sensational 2013 case of gang rape of a five-year-old girl in east Delhi. Additional Sessions Judge Naresh Kumar Malhotra deferred the verdict which was likely to be pronounced today.
Two persons — Manoj Shah and Pradeep — are accused of allegedly raping the girl and shoving off objects in her private parts on April 15, 2013.
Both the accused, currently in judicial custody, had fled after allegedly committing the crime, leaving the victim at Manoj's room believing her to be dead. The child was rescued 40 hours later on April 17, 2013.
Manoj and Pradeep were later arrested by Delhi police separately from Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga in Bihar respectively in 2013.
The court had framed charges of raping a minor, unnatural offence, kidnapping, attempt to murder, destruction of evidence and wrongful confinement with common intention under the IPC against the two accused. It had also framed charges of aggravated sexual assault under the POCSO Act which entails a maximum punishment of life term.
Charges of rape and unnatural offence were also slapped on the two accused by the court as these two sections were not invoked by the police in its charge sheet.
The police had said some foreign materials — three pieces of a candle and one hair oil bottle — were taken out from the body of the victim, which was also proved by doctors during recording of their statements in the court.
As the anger over the gruesome rape spilled onto the capital's streets, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that collective efforts were needed to root out such "depravity" from society.
"The gruesome assault on a little child a few days back reminds us of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," Singh had said.
The city had witnessed outraged students and women staging demonstrations at India Gate, Police Headquarters and near the residences of the then Prime Minister Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Placard-wielding protesters had also gathered at AIIMS, where the girl was undergoing treatment, and burnt the effigy of then Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, demanding his sacking.