NEW DELHI (AP) — A suspect in the fatal gang rape of a woman on a moving bus in India's capital appeared on a television show three years ago, demanding compensation from his former employer after injuring both his hands in a bus accident, the host of the show said Friday.
Ram Singh, 33, who police say drove the bus while the Dec. 16 attack took place and also raped the woman, appeared on the program "Aap Ki Kaccheri" or "Your Court," a former reality show in which contestants faced each other in a makeshift court presided over by Kiran Bedi, a former top police officer and ant-corruption crusader. Singh, who had been working as a driver, lost the case.
The employer "proved before us that Ram Singh had unauthorized driven out his vehicle and damaged his bus!" Bedi said in an email. "It was his fault."
"He got no compensation from us!" she added.
In the 2011 episode, which can be seen on YouTube, Singh demanded financial help from bus owner Ganga Dutt.
"I want compensation for injuring both my hands," he said mournfully, holding both arms stiffly by his side. He said he had injured himself while driving Dutt's bus.
Dutt refused to pay the driver any compensation, accusing him of driving the bus "rashly and negligently" and drinking on the job.
Singh then told Bedi he needed compensation because he had a small child.
Bedi asked if Dutt would pay the bus driver something "out of a sense of humanity."
Dutt offered Singh a job as a mechanic's assistant, offering less than half of the 9,000 rupees ($165) Singh had earned each month as a driver.
Singh's defense lawyer has said he was tortured by police and is innocent in the attack on the 23-year-old student, who had boarded the bus after watching a movie with a friend at a nearby mall. 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.
Four other men have also been charged with rape, murder and other crimes and could face the death penalty. 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.