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Bus beasts partied before night run
Four sent to custody, hunt on for two

New Delhi, Dec. 18: The driver of the chartered bus and five others accused in the gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedic student had partied before setting out for a “joy ride” on Sunday evening, police said today.

Police are questioning Ram Singh 30, his brother Mukesh, 27, who was at the wheel, gym assistant Vinay Sharma, 26, and fruit seller Pawan Gupta, 28, all of whom were produced in court and remanded in five days’ police custody.

“Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh were arrested on Monday night while Vinay and Pawan were arrested today. Raids are on to arrest Raju, 26, and Akshay Thakur, 29 — both worked as bus cleaners,” Chhaya Sharma, deputy commissioner (south), said.

All the accused are residents of a slum in R K Puram in south Delhi.

“On Sunday, they had a small party in the afternoon at Ram Singh’s house. They cooked chicken and had lot of liquor before setting out for a joy ride. They decided to have fun throughout the night and planned to take passengers to make quick bucks to buy more drinks,” said Sharma.

Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said his team would seek a fast-track trial to ensure speedy punishment in the case and send a proposal to the Union home ministry pushing for laws to invoke the death penalty on rapists.

“As of now, the maximum punishment for this crime is life sentence,” he said. An attempt to murder charge has been slapped on the accused, besides rape and kidnapping.

A probe has revealed that the bus — primarily a school bus — was being illegally used for commercial purposes.

Around 9.15pm on Sunday, Ram Singh and his mates spotted the trainee paramedic and her male friend waiting at Munirka in south Delhi to go to Dwarka in southwest Delhi. The duo had just watched Life of Pi at a multiplex.

“Noticing the girl, they called her and her male friend and told them the bus was going to Dwarka. The unsuspecting couple thought it was a public bus and boarded it. Soon after, they started misbehaving with them,” said Kumar.

The accused passed lewd remarks at the woman and beat up the male friend with an iron rod when he protested. Then they dragged the woman to the back seat and raped her and attacked her with the rod, leaving her intestines and uterus ruptured.

The brutality continued for 45 minutes. After that, they stripped the duo and threw them out of the running vehicle.

Ram Singh then took the wheels from brother Mukesh and dropped the other accused home before parking the vehicle at its owner’s place in Noida. The day after, he drove back to R K Puram and was arrested by the police.

“He cleaned the bus to destroy evidence. But we have got enough forensic evidence like nail scratchings, DNA, hair and other things,” Kumar said.

Victim ‘deteriorates’

The victim, who is being treated at Safdarjung Hospital, is on “full ventilator support” after her condition worsened this evening.

A PTI report quoted the Safdarjung Hospital medical superintendent, B.D. Athani, as saying: “Her condition is critical and deteriorating. In the morning she was better, but in the evening her condition fluctuated and her health deteriorated.”

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi tonight visited the hospital to enquire about the 23-year-old. She met the victim’s parents and spoke to doctors about her condition.

Sonia had during the day spoken to home minister Shinde and chief minister Sheila Dikshit and sought action to ensure such incidents do not recur.