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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The driver of the bus on which a student was gang-raped and fatally beaten featured three years ago on a television show that was hosted by former top woman police officer Kiran Bedi.
Ram Singh, the main accused in last month's assault on the woman in New Delhi, had sought help on the show, "Aap Ki Kacheri" or "Your Court", to get compensation for injuries he sustained in a bus accident, show host Bedi said.
Bedi, India's most celebrated former woman police officer and now an anti-corruption activist, was host of the Hindi-language programme that helped resolve civil disputes.
In that particular episode, which is available on YouTube, Singh and a bus owner who had refused his demands for compensation stood side by side at podiums as Bedi asked each man to make his case.
"Ram Singh tried to bully his former employer," Bedi told Reuters, recalling the episode.
A Delhi police officer confirmed that the man in the show was Singh, one of five men charged with the rape and murder of the 23-year-old student whose ordeal triggered nationwide protests.
Singh is expected to plead not guilty when the trial begins. Defence lawyers have said the prosecution's case is marred by lapses in the investigation.
The rape victim, who had boarded the bus along with a male friend after watching a movie on December 16, died in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.
On the television show, Singh said he was tired of going to a tribunal court to seek compensation for injuries to both his hands.
"I spend a lot of money commuting. I request you to please help," he told Bedi. But the bus owner said he would pay no compensation and accused Singh of "drunken, negligent and rash driving".
Singh did not have any criminal record at the time he appeared on the show, the police officer said.
Bedi said the episode involving Singh was one of the few times when the two sides could not reach a settlement.
"Once we saw all the evidence, I realised that Singh was in the wrong," she said.
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By Sean O'hare
PUBLISHED:17:04, 11 January 2013| UPDATED:20:50, 11 January 2013
A suspect in the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in Delhi appeared on an Indian reality television show two years ago demanding compensation from a former employer, the host of the show said today.
Kiran Bedi said Ram Singh, 33, accused of the attack on a female student on December 16, appeared on 'Aap Ki Kaccheri' or 'Your Court,' in 2011.
It is a courtroom-based show where participants go face-to-face to settle disputes in the presence of arbitrator Bedi.
It is claimed Ram Singh (right), the driver of the bus on which an Indian student was gang-raped and fatally beaten, featured three years ago on a TV show, hosted by former top police officer Kiran Bedi (left)
The man it is claimed was Ram Singh, the main accused in last month's assault on the woman in New Delhi, had sought help on the show Aap Ki Kacheri or Your Court, to get compensation for injuries he sustained in a bus accident, show host Kiran Bedi said
The episode, shown on YouTube, shows Singh arguing for compensation from a former bus company employer, claiming he hurt both his hands in a bus accident driving his boss's bus.
It comes as a dying declaration from the victim is said to have emerged, taken eight days before she died, in which she named the attackers and revealed details of the attack.
The declaration will now be used as part of the prosecution against the men, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Ms Bedi, India's former top woman police officer, told Huffington Post how Singh lost the case.
'The employer proved before us that Ram Singh had unauthorized (sic) driven out his vehicle and damaged his bus!. It was his fault.
'He got no compensation from us!'
The episode was one of the few in which some kind of settlement could not be reached, said Ms Bedi.
Singh could be seen asking for money from his boss for injuries to his hands while driving his bus, explaining he had a small child to keep.
'I want compensation for injuring both my hands,' he said before asking if his the boss would pay something 'out of a sense of humanity.'
His boss refused any compensation and said Singh drove the bus 'rashly and negligently' while drinking on the job.
In the episode, the man believed to be Singh and a bus owner who had refused his demands for compensation stood side-by-side at podiums as Bedi asked each man to make his case
The episode of Aap Ki Kaccheri, hosted by Kiran Bedi (pictured) shows Singh arguing for compensation from a former bus company employer, claiming he hurt both his hands in a bus accident driving his boss's bus.
Kiran Bedi, India's former top woman police officer, said: 'The employer proved before us that Ram Singh had unauthorized (sic) driven out his vehicle and damaged his bus!. It was his fault'
Mr Singh is one of five suspects charged with murder and rape. Here two of them can be seen led into an Indian court. If found guilty they could face the death sentence
As some form of compromise the boss offered Singh a mechanic's assistant job paying less than half the 120 a month Singh was earning as a bus driver.
Singh is among the five men charged with attacking a 23-year-old woman and her male companion on a bus as it was driven through streets of India's capital on December 16, 2012.
The woman was raped repeatedly and violated with a metal bar, police say, leaving her with massive internal injuries. She died in a hospital in Singapore two weeks after the attack.
Part of her dying declaration, reportedly made in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital on December 21 – eight days before she died, reveals the savagery with which she was attacked by six men on the bus.
She said once they boarded the bus the conductor dimmed the lights and the men approached her and her friend and started to beat them.
'They held his hands and held me and took me to the back of the bus. They tore my clothes and raped me in turns. They hit me with an iron rod and bit me on my entire body with their teeth.
'Six people raped me in turns for nearly one hour in a moving bus.
Accusations: A Delhi police van, believed to be carrying the accused in the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, enters a district court in New Delhi
'The driver of the bus kept changing so that he could also rape me,' she said.
She said they were 'illiterate drive-cleaner types' by the way they spoke and named them as
'Ram Singh, Thakkur, Raju, Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay.'
She went on to describe how she was semi-conscious through parts of the attack and how her male friend was beaten with a metal bar whenever he tried to defend her.
At the end of the attack she said they were both stripped naked and thrown off the bus, the attackers believing they were both dead.
A lawyer for Singh and two other accused claims his clients have been tortured and coerced into admitting the crime.
He made the accusation yesterday as he entered court where the five suspects appeared for a second time amid heavy security, charged with abduction, rape and murder.
Manohar Lal Sharma told the BBC that one of the men had been tortured for 10 days.
Mr Sharma said he plans to represent bus driver Ram Singh and his brother Mukesh as well as a third man Akshay Thakur and they planned to plead not guilty.
A sixth suspect, who says he is 17 years old, is likely to be tried in a juvenile court if medical tests confirm he is a minor. His maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.
Claims: Policemen report for duty at the court. A lawyer for three of the men accused of the brutal rape and killing of a 23-year-old woman claims his clients have been tortured into admitting the crime
'This 22-year-old boy was picked up from his village,' said Mr Sharma.
'All these people have been tortured badly. It's under pressure that they have made statements in court.'
Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat refused to comment, citing legal restrictions.
Undecided: The hearing was expected to result in the case being sent to a special 'fast-track' court, but a decision was not made as the court ruled that the charge-sheet needed more scrutiny
The case has now been adjourned until January 14 and although India's legal system is slow and inefficient, officials are eager to make sure the high-profile case moves quickly.
'They are innocent,' said Mr Sharma, who added that he took the case in part to confront the police over 'how manipulated evidence is placed for fixing the innocent people.'
Rape victims are not identified in India, even if they die, and rape trials are closed to the media.
Indian TV station NDTV has shown footage understood to be the suspects charged in the gang-rape case
Another lawyer, VK Anand, says he also represents the two Singh brothers. It is not yet clear if the other defendants have lawyers.
Large protests have taken place across India since the attack, with women telling relentless stories of abuse - from catcalls to bus gropings to rapes - and of a police and judicial system that does little to stop it.
Authorities have charged the men with murder, rape and other crimes that could bring the death penalty.
Heartbreak: Badri Singh, father of the woman who was gang-raped and murdered in India, has said that he had been hopeful that his daughter would make a full recovery from her horrific injuries
Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said last week that a DNA test confirmed that the blood of the victim matched blood stains found on the clothes of all the accused.
The news comes after the father of the murdered woman has described her desperate battle for life - and his futile hope that she would live.
Badri Singh said that although he knew that his daughter was 'in a bad state' after she was attacked by six men in Delhi last month, he still believed she might recover after she was taken to hospital in Singapore.
Fury: Indian students burn an effigy representing Hindu religious leader Asaram Bapu after he said on Monday that young rape victim in Delhi was as equally responsible for her rape as the rapists
Anger: Protestors had given the victim the name Damini after a Bollywood film of the same name where the protagonist fought for justice after a rape ordeal. She was identified when her father decided to break his silence and speak out
Outrage: Protestors hold candles in New Delhi last month as they took to the streets in anger following the 23-year-old students gang-rape and murder
But the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was to die after sustaining horrific injuries during the assault.
Speaking to ITV1's Daybreak, Mr Singh said: 'When we went to Singapore she was not conscious but she had tears in her eyes. Then I realised she was in a really bad state.
'I couldn't think what to do at that time, I was like a bird without wings, I was neither here nor there.
'So when I thought she might get better, I used to get filled with some hope. When I was told that she might not get well and might have to have an operation I felt uncomfortable.
'It was difficult for me, but when she was put on a ventilator it gave me some hope that she would get better. I thought she might get better and she would live.'
Mr Singh said that his daughter's death 13 days after the horrific attack has 'brought an awakening' to Indian society and called for his country to no longer turn a blind eye to attacks on women.
He added that he would like to see a new law or a hospital named after his daughter.
Describing his daughter, Mr Singh said: 'When she was born my aunties and uncles always used to carry her around, those were really lovely days.
'Right from the start her ambition was to be a doctor. Her main aim was that our family wouldn't have to suffer any more, she wanted to put the difficult life behind us, wipe out our poverty.
'She also wanted to make sure I didn't have to keep working hard late in life.'
The young student was attacked on an illegal bus in Delhi on December 16 and her and a male friend were left for dead on the road.
She eventually died in a hospital in Singapore after having 90 per cent of her intestines removed.
Her death sparked anger across India.
Meanwhile, the victim's companion on the night of the attack, 28-year-old software engineer Awindra Pandey, has spoken out about the terrible ordeal and his friend's horrific injuries.
Treatment: The rape victim was taken to intensive care at a Singapore hospital but died of her injuries
Poignant: White lilies could be seen in the back of the ambulance as the body was transported through the city
He told The Times that his efforts to flag down help from passing motorists after the pair had been dumped in the road were ignored for 20 minutes.
Mr Pandey said that police were reluctant to help his friend despite her injuries.
'She was asking for water and complaining of pain in her stomach,' he said.
'She was bleeding heavily. They (the police) asked me to put her in the van.'
He said that the pair, who were not dating, had been to a cinema in the city to see Life of Pi but were unable to persuade a rickshaw driver to take them all the way back to the Dwarka suburb where the woman lived with her parents.
They were dropped halfway home, when a phone call from her mother asking her to hurry home prompted them to board an illegal bus with blacked out windows.
Mr Pandey confronted other passengers when they began insulting the pair but they soon produced iron rods, he said.
He said that he was beaten and fell to the floor of the bus.
After up to 20 minutes, the gang believed the student to have died and dumped the pair in the road.
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