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Witness plea by ‘rapists’

New Delhi, Jan. 6 (PTI): Two of the six accused in the bus gang-rape case today told a court they wanted to turn witnesses in a desperate bid to get away with a lighter sentence, though some lawyers said their plea might not work.

Two others, Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh, who were also produced before metropolitan magistrate Jyoti Kler in her chamber after their 14-day judicial remand ended, pleaded for legal aid.

Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, both accused in the brutal December 16 gang rape of a trainee paramedic who later died, refused legal aid and said they wanted to become witnesses on behalf of the state.

In her order dictated in the open courtroom after the accused had been sent back to jail, the magistrate said all the accused had been “informed that they can seek legal aid”.

“Accused Pawan and Vinay have refused to take the service of the legal aid counsel and have submitted that they want to become witnesses on behalf of the state,” she said.

Legal experts, however, said an accused could not hope to become a witness in a case where the crime was as heinous as the Delhi gang rape.