Juvenile convict in Delhi gang-rape released, handed over to NGO: Media reports

An Indian activist takes part in a protest to mark the third anniversary of the Delhi gang rape crime, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Dec 16, 2015.
An Indian activist takes part in a protest to mark the third anniversary of the Delhi gang rape crime, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Dec 16, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI: The juvenile convict in the deadly gang-rape of a student which provoked international outrage has been released from a youth correctional facility and handed over to a non-governmental organisation, media reports said.

The Times of India in a live blog on protests against the convict's release said: 'Juvenile convict in the December 16 gang rape case no longer under police protection. Now with an NGO: Police sources'.

The post was made at 5.43 India time (8. 13pm Singapore time) on Sunday (Dec 20).

A few minutes earlier the BBC said the attacker's lawyer had told the British media outlet that his client had been released.

He was now with a charity and would remain there because of fears over his safety, the BBC said.

The police later confirmed the release. “The convict was handed over to an NGO. He is no longer under the jurisdiction of the police,” Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“He has been given a new identity and his criminal record has been expunged,” a police source added.

The release came even after a women's rights body filed a petition against it past midnight Saturday.

Swati Maliwal, the head of Delhi Commission of Women, had submitted the petition to the Supreme Court at 0100 hours (3:30am Sunday Singapore time), seeking a stay just hours before the convict was to walk free after serving the maximum three years' sentence for juvenile offenders, AFP reported.

The court would take up the plea on Monday.

“The juvenile won’t have to appear before the Supreme Court tomorrow unless it passes a summons or notice to him,” R.K. Tripathy, a lawyer who is not directly involved in the case, told Reuters.  

The attacker was the youngest of a group of men who brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student on a bus in 2012, triggering global outrage and protests in India over the country's high levels of violence against women.

He was sent to a correction home for three years under India's juvenile laws while four others were convicted and handed the death penalty in 2014. The appeals of the convicts against the hanging is pending in the Supreme Court, AFP reported.

More than a hundred people, including the victim’s parents, gathered in New Delhi to protest against the release.  

The Delhi high court on Friday heard a petition by a ruling-party politician Subramanian Swamy demanding a longer sentence for the offender after he had received the maximum punishment of three years from the Juvenile Justice Board.

The high court judges said they could not halt the release because his sentence had complied with existing law.