Tuesday will be the judgment day for the four accused standing trial in a Delhi court for the Dec 16, 2012, gang rape that sparked nationwide protests and nudged the central government into enacting a stringent anti-rape law.
Additional Session Judge Yogesh Khanna will decide the fate of four accused - Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur - after almost nine months of the brutal crime in which a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped in a moving bus.
The four accused were charged with gang rape, murder, attempt to murder, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence and dacoity, among other offences. They may face a maximum punishment of death if found guilty.
A juvenile involved in the crime was Aug 31 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years after concluding that he was involved in rape and murder.
The board's decision, which was the first punishment related to the case, however, left the woman's family members angry as they said they wanted a harsher punishment to the youth.
The incident occurred after the woman and her male companion boarded the bus in Munirka in south Delhi, police said.
The six accused threw both of them out of the vehicle — without clothes — on the streets in the cold December night after committing ghastly crimes on them, police said.
The gang rape victim succumbed her injuries Dec 29, 2012, at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.
The gory attack sparked protests across the country with some people demanding the execution of the accused and some calling for chemical castration.
The charge sheet in the case was filed Jan 3 and trial started Feb 5. The prosecution presented 85 witnesses and the defence 17.
Police said in the charge sheet the juvenile was the most brutal of all the accused.
One accused, Ram Singh, died during trial. The case against Ram Singh was dropped after he was found dead, hanging in his cell in Tihar Jail here.