NEW DELHI, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) --Lawyers for five of the six accused in the gangrape case in the Indian capital cross-examined Wednesday the prime witness and boyfriend of the 23-year-old victim, a day after he testified before a special fast track court hearing the case.
"The cross-examination has begun. Three defense lawyers have been cross-examining him based on the statement that he gave to the police and the court," the 28-year-old computer engineer's father told the media outside the court which has strictly barred the press from reporting the proceedings till the case is concluded.
The cross-examination came after the boyfriend of the victim Tuesday identified the five accused and the bus on which the Delhi University student was gangraped by the six men on Dec. 16 last year.
The sixth accused, aged below 18, is a minor and will be tried according to juvenile law.
The fast track court Tuesday formally began the trial of the case, a week after it had brought charges against the five accused, currently in judicial custody, for the heinous crime which shocked the country and triggered massive public outcry over the rising incidents of sexual assaults on women and the need for stringent laws.
The five accused, who have been slapped with rape and murder charges among others, have denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, they could face the death penalty. The sixth accused, however, is likely to get away with lighter punishment of a maximum of three years in a reform facility.
The victim, who was gangraped last December and subsequently beaten up mercilessly along with her boyfriend by the six accused before being thrown off the vehicle which they had boarded after watching a movie at a multiplex, succumbed to her injuries earlier last month at a hospital in Singapore, where she was shifted after her condition worsened at a government hospital in the Indian capital.
Her case apparently promoted the country's Supreme Court to examine the juvenile justice act and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to sign a new anti-rape law which has now increased the minimum sentence for those convicted of gangrape and allows for the death penalty to be used in extreme cases.