On the night of 16th December 2012, 23-year-old Nirbhaya (Jyoti Singh) was brutally raped by four men in a moving bus, while her friend was beaten to within an inch of his life. The entire nation was shaken to its very core, and countless people took to the streets to support the young woman and demand strict and quick action against the four accused.
Nirbhaya’s case had to be treated with special care and attention. The media and citizens were numbed by the magnitude of violence inflicted on Nirbhaya, were on the streets, pressurising authorities to take quick action.
Even as the citizens were protesting, a team of policemen was working round the clock to ensure that the culprits would not escape their fate.
ACP Rajender Singh, who was an inspector at the time, was the principal investigator of the case. Speaking to NDTV, he said, “The front gate of the Vasant Vihar police station was blocked by the media and public. We used the back gate, which meant climbing a wall, to enter our office.
From facing media and public outrage to handling law and order situation and the various commissions, we were facing so many things, but we didn’t let our focus shift.”
Chhaya Sharma, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in South Delhi when the rape case took place, shone the light on how her team was able to track down the culprits from a city of over 11 lakh people. She said that more than a 100 policemen worked on Nirbhaya’s case, successfully solving the case within 72 hours and filing a charge-sheet within ten days of the incident. From a total of 381 buses in Delhi, the team was able to identify the white bus where the incident had occurred.
Speaking to The Quint, PS Kushwah, DCP, Special Cell, Delhi Police said, “It was a tough case to crack because there was no clue initially. They (the team) collected the clinching evidence in the form of a video clip which was available from a hotel near the airport wherein this bus is seen going twice. And that was a major reason we suspected as to why a bus is going from the same spot twice—once at 9:34 p.m. and again at 9:54 p.m.”
Speaking to the Deccan Herald, Neeraj Kumar, former Delhi Police Commissioner said,
“We got the CCTV footage, interpreted it and then overnight we located the bus and then its driver (Ram Singh) and interrogated him. By the next afternoon, Ram Singh confessed that he had been driving the bus.”
“The juvenile involved in the crime was apprehended from Delhi’s Anand Vihar bus terminal by our team,” Kumar said, adding that “He had started working as a bus conductor and was apprehended on the basis of this clue.”
He recalled that one of the six accused, Akshay Thakur, was arrested from a Naxalite-dominated area in Bihar and another from the remote parts of Rajasthan.
The police had then moved to gather evidence from the Singapore hospital where Nirbhaya was shifted—to make the case stronger. The Supreme Court judges, presiding over the case in 2013, said that the case had created a ‘tsunami of shock’ adding that “If ever a case called for hanging, this was it.” They confirmed the death penalty to four of the accused adults. A loud applause welcomed the verdict in the court.
Ram Singh, one of the accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail while the juvenile was arrested and sent to a correction home in North Delhi.
As of now, the Supreme Court is reviewing the pleas of three out of the four convicts who were sent to the death row for the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. We will keep you updated about the same.
UPDATE: The apex court upheld the death sentence to the accused, rejecting their plea to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)