Mukesh Singh, convicted in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case, made a sensational charge during a hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, saying he was forced into sexual acts with fellow convicts, mostly Akshay Thakur, in Tihar Jail. Singh had appealed against the postponement of the 1 February death warrant and rejection of the president’s mercy petition.
Mukesh’s lawyer Anjana Prakash claimed in his plea that he was forced into a physical relationship with Akshay Thakur, another convict in the Nirbhaya case. Anjana, the lawyer for the convicts, alleged further that he was beaten up many times since the day he was lodged in the jail.
President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected Mukesh’s plea for clemency. Today’s media commentaries on the Nirbhaya case are unanimous on the observation that this is another trick by the convict to avoid his execution.
Six people were suspected to be guilty in the Nirbhaya case. One of them, Ram Singh, committed suicide in jail. A purported minor served a three-year term at a juvenile centre and is now leading a life of anonymity in a coastal town of southern India as a help in a restaurant, several media reports suggest.
Four remaining convicts in the Nirbhaya case were sentenced to death nearly three years ago. They are Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur. The Nirbhaya case convicts were to be hanged earlier on 22 January. But the case was stuck because of the various petitions they filed one by one, taking advantage of the precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Harbans Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh case.
In December 2019, it was speculated that the convicts could be hanged on the day they tormented Nirbhaya. A hunt for a hangman began, which soon ended. In the meantime, however, the judicial rigmarole had begun with all kinds of frivolities like convict Akshay saying Delhi was a gas chamber where he would die anyway; so there was no need to hang him and another one, Pawan, pleading he was a minor during the criminal act. Then there was a mercy plea from convict Vinay to the president that a convict wanted to be returned, as the convict’s signature was allegedly missing.
According to the latest death warrant, the culprits are to be hanged on 1 February.