The family of the Delhi gang-rape victim today slammed the move by two of the six accused in the case to become State witnesses, saying this was being done to escape the death sentence and wanted the plea to be rejected.

“It is not right to allow two of the accused persons as State witnesses as it is nothing but an attempt by them to escape the death sentence,” the brother of the 23-year-old girl told PTI at their native Medawar Kala village here.

The father of the girl said there were enough witnesses in the case and there was no need to make the accused persons as witnesses.

The girl’s grandfather and uncle — Lalji Singh and K.P. Singh respectively — said the accused who have committed a heinous crime should not get relief of any kind or be made State witnesses.

Of the four accused who were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Jyoti Kler inside her chamber in Delhi yesterday after expiry of their 14-day judicial remand, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma refused to take the service of legal aid counsel and expressed their willingness to become witnesses on behalf of the State in the gangrape-cum-murder case. There are six accused in all, including a juvenile, in the case.

Legal experts feel that an accused cannot hope to become a witness especially in a case of heinous crime like the brutal gang-rape to escape punishment.

Usually in a case where investigators find it difficult to gather evidence, they could ask for an accused to become an approver to get crucial evidence and, in return, the accused could get a lighter sentence or escape punishment, the experts said.

The girl’s brother also demanded that the jail term for rape cases be increased to 30 years from the current maximum punishment of life term.

He also favoured lowering the age of juveniles under the criminal justice system to 14 years from the present 18 years.

Replying to questions, he objected to wrong names of the victim and her father being reported in a section of the foreign media.

“Though the family has no objection in making the name of the girl and her father public, the names that come out should be correct,” he said.

(This article was published on January 7, 2013)
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