Delhi Police to seek life term for gang-rape accused

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) Delhi Police will seek life imprisonment for the accused in the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus Sunday night, Home Secretary R.K. Singh said Friday and defended Delhi Police in probing the case swiftly and assisting the victims.

Singh defended Delhi Police saying it had made fast progress in the case and a police control room (PCR) van reached the spot where the victims had been dumped in four minutes.

Addressing a press conference here with Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, Singh said police would seek a fast-track and day-to-day trial in the case of the gang-rape.

Asked if Kumar should resign for the incident, Singh said: "Police has done outstanding work in catching the culprits. That needs to be appreciated."

He denied that police committment to VIP security was hampering protecting citizens and said that police had 7,200 separate personnel for VIP security duties.

"We will be asking for maximum punishment," he said, adding that the maximum sentence in such a case was life imprisonment.

Singh said police would file a chargesheet against the six accused. The last accused, Akshay Thakur, was arrested by Delhi Police in Aurangabad in Bihar Friday.

He added: "This is going to be a place where any 'goondagardi' (hooliganism) and 'dadagiri' (bullying) will be swiftly put down."

Kumar said police had started on the "blind case" on the basis of sketchy information provided by the girl's male friend, who was with her during the incident.

"We shortlisted 370 carriage buses which were white. In 18 hours we had the bus and the driver," Kumar said.

Kumar said since the fifth accused claims to be a juvenile, his details cannot be divulged.

He added: "We are going to check if he is a juvenile or not."

The police commissioner said that an attempt to murder case has also been slapped on the accused.

Kumar admitted there had been a rise in rape cases in the city from 564 last year to 661 in 2012 but attributed it to the growing population of the city and women feeling more empowered to report such cases.

Singh said the chartered bus in which the incident took place was not supposed to pick up passengers. "Licences of such buses will be cancelled," he said.

He said every bus -- including those of Delhi Transport Corporation -- must display photos of the driver and cleaner and their identities must be verified by police.

He said auto and taxi drivers must have public service badges.

The home secretary also said that he had met transport department authorities and every bus and auto will have GPS.

"People will feel the difference. Everyone will feel safe while commuting," he said.

Meanwhile, anti-rape protests swept across the Indian capital and various cities as angry protesters demanded action against the culprits and harsher punishment.