One of the six suspects accused raping and murdering a woman in Delhi last year has given his first public interview to The Wall Street Journal, but the entire Q&A seems like testimony from a less than reliable source. Vinay Sharma and five other men (one a juvenile) are accused of kidnapping a 23-year-old woman and her male friend last December, driving them around the city for several hours, repeatedly raping her and beating them both, and the leaving them for dead on the side. The woman later died from internal injuries.
Sharma claims that not only is he not guilty of participating in the horrific attack, he wasn't even there, he's never seen the victims before, and he's not even friends with the others suspects. In fact, he claims that he had a falling out with one of the other men, Ram Singh, just hours before the assault happened. Ram Singh died in prison after being arrested, though his family believes he was murdered. Sharma was also reportedly attacked while in prison.
As for his alibi, Sharma claims he was at a concert with his family during the attack, and thus could not have been on board. This despite the fact that both the male victim and one of the other accused suspects identified Sharma as one of the attackers. The other suspect, Mukesh Singh (Ram's brother,) claims he was driving the bus, but did not participate in the attack, another charge that should be greeted with some suspicion given that testifying against his accomplices would like earn Singh some leniency.
Even given the leeway one should accept for written answers and translation issues from Hindi into English, Sharma's other answers don't exactly ring with sincerity. He says that if he could do something different about the night of the attack he would give blood; that the victim identified him only under police pressure, and that everyone in his neighborhood knows he was set up.
But the most suspicious answer comes at the very end, and it might make you question everything that comes before. The Journal says that the entire interview was conducted through Sharma's lawyers, A.P. Singh, who "signed and attested" that the Q&A was authentic. Singh (pictured above) must be an awfully good lawyer for his client to (unprompted) pre-emptively praise his defense team for failing to spare him the death penalty:
WSJ: How has your view of life changed after Dec. 16?
Mr. Sharma: If I am sentenced to death, my last wish would be to garland my lawyer A.P. Singh with flowers and touch his feet. He has worked so hard and with such integrity for me on this case, it should go down in history. My life will finish, but I hope he gets a long life, this is all that I want.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.