Rape accused Ram Singh had appeared on reality TV show

NEW DELHI Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:50am IST

A demonstrator holds placards during a protest in New Delhi December 29, 2012. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A demonstrator holds placards during a protest in New Delhi December 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

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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.

(Editing by John Chalmers and Robert Birsel)

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