New Delhi: In a verdict that was awaited by the whole nation, the fast-track Delhi Court Tuesday held guilty four accused in the barbaric gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee paramedic, describing it as premeditated" and "brutal" act.
The judgement came nine months after the crime that shook India and triggered a wave of street protests that forced the government to come out with a strong anti-rape law.
Delivering the judgment in a small but packed courtroom at District Court, Saket, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna found the four men guilty under charges of gang rape, murder, attempt to murder the victim's male friend, unnatural offences, destruction of evidence and dacoity among other offences.
The court said the facts made all of them liable for the "cold blooded murder" of the "defenceless victim".
"She was gang raped by six persons one by one and...iron rod and hands were inserted into the abdominal cavity...(and a) major part of her intestine was pulled out from the body. This aspect shows the severity of injuries caused to the victim," the judge said.
He said the injuries on her person, including "18 injuries" to her internal organs, inflicted by the accused were "dangerous" and "sufficient...to cause death".
The victim's parents and brother also echoed the same sentiments.
"I want death sentence for all of them and only then will I be at peace," the victim's mother said.
The four accused -- Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur -- held in jail since the crime was committed, were present in the court when the verdict was pronounced.
After hearing the verdict, Vinay Sharma cried while Mukesh's parents sobbed inconsolably.
The court said the convicts' act of inserting rods into the body of the victim was done "intentionally" to kill her.
"The act of insertion of rods and pulling out the internal organs after committing the gang rape in no manner can be seen as acts done only to facilitate the commission of gang rape," the court said.
The injuries were caused in a "brutal manner" and the death was also not accidental, the court said in a judgment which runs into 237 pages.
Judge Khanna said the nature of the convicts' acts suggested that none of these were impulsive but "clearly establishes the acts as being premeditated".
The manner in which rod were used and injury on the body of the victim was inflicted ruled out the possibility that the accused brought the rod "to overpower the victim", who died of her grave injuries 13-days after the brutal attack.
"The victim died due to injuries inflicted by the accused while committing various offences with the victim inside the moving bus on Dec 16, 2012. Such injuries have been described by the doctors as dangerous, extremely bad for definite repair, sufficient in the ordinary course to cause death," the court said.
"Multiple severe injuries to alimentary canal can by no stretch of the imagination be the outcome of commission of the offence of gang rape by six persons," the court said.
The judge said that force was used on the victim while torturing her and that caused severe injuries to her, from which she ultimately died.
The rod caused as many as "18 internal injuries to several organs" and the cause of death in the case was the direct consequence of the multiple injuries sustained by her, the court said.
The judge said that the evidence of complainant (victim's male friend), who was in the bus, was of "vital importance" for deciding the case that sparked nationwide protests and nudged the central government into enacting the stringent anti-rape law.
While one of the six original accused men was found dead in a cell in Delhi's Tihar jail, a juvenile involved in the crime was Aug 31 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years after it concluded that he was involved in rape and murder.
The six attackers on the bus threw both the physiotherapist intern and her male companion out of the vehicle -- without clothes -- on the street in the cold December night after committing the ghastly crime, police said.
The victim died of her injuries Dec 29 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she was airlifted for specialised treatment by the government.