Days after the Supreme Court had ordered release of three men - sentenced to death - in the 2012 Chhawla gang rape-murder case, the Delhi government is set to challenge the order. Lt Governor of Delhi - Vinai Kumar Saxena - has given a go-ahead to challenge the release.
Earlier this month, a three-judge Supreme Court bench - headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit - had announced the acquittal of the accused. "Having regard to the totality of circumstances and the evidence on record, it is difficult to hold that the prosecution had proved the guilt of the accused by adducing cogent and clinching evidence," the top court had said.
The acquittal came more than ten years after a woman - who hailed from Uttarakhand's Pauri Garhwal district - was abducted in Delhi and later found dead in a field in Haryana's Rewari district. It was on February 9, 2012, that she had got off a bus about 10 minutes away from her house at Chhawla Camp in the national capital. The woman - who worked with a private company in Gurugram's Cyber City - was walking home with two friends, when she was abducted by men in a car.
Her body was recovered days later with multiple injuries and burn marks; and the autopsy report underlined the attack with car tools, glass bottles and sharp metal objects. Ravi and Vinod - the three accused - were convicted and awarded death sentences by a city court on February 19, 2014. The Delhi High Court had upheld the judgment of the trial court on August 26 the same year, noting the brutal manner in which the body was mutilated before and after the woman was kidnapped and raped, referring to the accused as "trained blood hounds picking out a scent".
Among others who had just objected to the Supreme Court order was Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. He said he spoke to Union law minister Kiren Rijiju and assured justice for the woman and the family. "The victim is the daughter of our country and we will do everything to ensure that she gets justice," Dhami had told news agency ANI.