Asia Pacific

Pre-Trial Motions May Delay Start Of Indian Gang-Rape Case

The trial of an Indian student who was gang-raped and murdered appears likely to be delayed after defence lawyers on Monday filed a number of motions.

The motions included those seeking complete medical records of the victim and alleged torture of a defendant.

Five men have been charged in the fatal gang rape of the 23-year-old, which sparked widespread outrage and protests.

After initial treatment in New Delhi, where she was attacked, the woman was moved to a Singapore hospital where she died of severe injuries on Dec. 29.

Judge Namrita Aggarwal was still expected to transfer the case to a special fast-track court that will begin the trial.

But during pre-trial proceedings on Monday, lawyers for the accused filed several pleas which the prosecution and police must reply to.

The next hearing was set for Jan.17.

VK Anand, among the four lawyers appointed for the accused, said that he had asked the court to examine the role of Naresh Trehan, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who had checked the victim before she was airlifted to Singapore.

“We are seeking the complete medical records and bulletins of the victim. There are a lot of medical discrepancies … Why was the victim shifted to Singapore in such a precarious condition? We want to know the real cause of her death,’’ he said.

Manohar Lal Sharma, counsel for another accused, alleged that his client was being tortured at New Delhi's Tihar jail by “inmates at the behest of Delhi Police''.

Judge Aggarwal instructed jail authorities to conduct daily checks to ensure his safety.

Another lawyer, AP Singh, filed a petition challenging the handcuffing of the accused, arguing it violated their human rights.

Singh blamed the delay in sending the case to a fast-track court on police, who he said had not yet provided the complete set of documents, including copies of the charge sheet.

Police were expected to submit a supplementary copy of the charge sheets containing the post-mortem report of the victim from the Singapore hospital.

“It could take a few more hearings before the case is committed to the fast-track court,’’ Singh said.

Judge Aggarwal has been holding pre-trial hearings behind closed doors, after chaotic scenes in the public gallery last week caused her to clear the courtroom.

A sixth suspect in the case is to be tried by a juvenile court, if his claim to be 17-years-old is verified.

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