x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Two to plead not guilty in Delhi gang-rape case

Two of the five men accused of gang-raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in New Delhi last month will plead not guilty to all charges.

NEW DELHI // Two of the five men accused of gang-raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in New Delhi last month will plead not guilty to all charges, a lawyer said yesterday.

"They will plead not guilty to all charges," said ML Sharma, who said he represents Mukesh Singh and Akshay Thakur. "Nothing has been proven yet."

Mukesh Singh, who is the brother of the bus driver Ram Singh, and Mr Thakur are two of the five men charged with rape and murder over the December 16 attack on the student, which has fuelled fierce and sustained protests across India.

A sixth accused, who is 17, will be tried in a separate court for juveniles.

Officials at Tihar jail, the maximum security prison where the accused are being held, confirmed that Mr Sharma had met two of the suspects yesterday.

Police earlier said they had identified bloodstains linking the men to the attack but the lawyer said he would challenge police over their handling of evidence, while refusing to give details.

The next hearing, to be held behind closed doors, has been scheduled for tomorrow, when a magistrate is expected to transfer the case for trial in a special fast-track court.