x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Delhi rape trial hears alibi claims

Two of the defendants on trial over the gang rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi in December claim they were not on the bus in which the 23-year-old student was attacked.

NEW DELHI // Two of the defendants on trial over the gang rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi in December yesterday claimed that they were not on the bus in which the 23-year-old student was attacked.

Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta made the plea before a special fast-track court hearing in the capital, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

"Vinay's mobile contains a video recording and photos which can establish that he and Pawan were not in the bus on the night of incident," AP Singh, a defence lawyer, told the judge.

Mr Sharma and Mr Gupta were attending a musical night in their neighbourhood with a friend who could be a crucial witness in the case, the lawyer said, accusing the police of "falsely implicating" them in the case.

The pair, arrested along with four others soon after the crime on December 16, have been charged with gang rape, robbery and murder following the death of the physiotherapy student.

Last month, the driver of the bus used in the assault, and the main accused in the case, was found dead, hanging in his prison cell.

The case has led to months of soul-searching over incidences of and attitudes to sexual crime in India. It resulted in the introduction of tougher laws to punish rapists and focused global attention on violence against women in the country.