Delhi gang-rape: Accused` plea to make CM defence witness dismissed

A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed the plea of an accused in the December 16 gang-rape case to call Shiela Dikshit as a defence witness.

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed the plea of an accused in the December 16 gang-rape case to call Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit as a defence witness, saying it is an abuse of the process.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna refused to call the Chief Minister as a defence witness in the case on the request of Akshay Thakur, an accused.

"The request to summon the Chief Minister to prove the alleged controversy or alleged false recording of statement of the prosecutrix is nothing but an abuse of the process," the court said, which also declined the request of the accused to summon SDM Usha Chaturvedi as a defence witness.

A P Singh, counsel representing Akshay and another accused Vinay Sharma, while filing the list of witnesses had said that there was a controversy surrounding the victim`s statement under Section 164 of the CrPC and the manner in which it was recorded. He had submitted that he wanted Dikshit`s testimony in the case to clarify the issue.

In December last year, the SDM had claimed that three senior police officers had interfered with the recording of the victim`s statement. Dikshit had written to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, demanding a probe into the matter.

"Prosecution witness (PW-27) Dr Usha Chaturvedi has already been examined/cross examined extensively. Hence, the request is declined," the court said.

It allowed Akshay`s request to call as witness his family members to establish his claim that he was not in Delhi on December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old girl was gangraped allegedly by six persons in a moving bus.

"The witness... Proposes to depose that accused Akshay left Delhi on December 15, 2012 and reached his village, in his home town on December 16, 2012.

"Since during recording of his statement, accused Akshay challenged his presence in the bus, so witness at serial no. 2 to 8 and at serial no. 11 seems to be relevant but since all of these witnesses pertain to one fact, the accused may produce any five of these witnesses in his defence," the judge said.

Singh had presented a list of 14 witnesses and eight
documents on behalf of Akshay. Vivek Sharma and Sadashiv Gupta, counsel representing accused Pawan Gupta, presented a list of seven witnesses to appear on behalf of their client.

"The list of seven witnesses as has been filed on behalf of Pawan by his counsel...,to be produced in his defence. None of the witnesses need to be summoned. Accused may produce these witnesses for July 19 and July 20," the court said.

As per the prosecution, the six persons in the bus were driver Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and a juvenile and all of them had raped the girl.

The victim died of injuries on December 29 last year while undergoing treatment in a Singapore hospital.

During the trial, Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail on March 11 and court proceedings against him stand abated.
The sixth accused, a juvenile, faced an inquiry before the juvenile justice board here.

The judge in his order also considered Akshay`s request to summon CCTV footage of New Delhi Railway Station to establish his claim that he departed from the national capital on December 15, 2012 by Maha Bodhi Express.

"The incharge (security) of the New Delhi Railway Station through the DRM of New Delhi Railway Station to produce the CCTV coverage of such platform of at least one hour before its departure time on December 15, 2012," the court said.

Akshay also requested the court to call Dr Naresh Trehan, Director of Medanta Hospital, as a defence witness. However, it was denied by the court, saying he need not to be summoned, since the purpose of his visit has already been proved on record by the statement of prosecution witness Dr PK Verma.