New Delhi: A Delhi court on Saturday allowed the accused in the December 16 gang-rape case to bring two more witnesses in their defence and fixed August 22 for start of hearing the final arguments in the case.
Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna, while fixing the date for final arguments in the case, directed the counsel for accused Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta to close their evidence on Monday without making any "delay or excuses".
"I am fixing Thursday (August 22) for final arguments, so now conclude your (accused) evidence before it," the judge said, adding no further chance will be given to them.
The court`s order came on an application filed by Vinay who had sought to call three new witnesses to establish that the prosecution witnesses, whose statements were recorded by the court, were "false" and were "tutored".
Vinay`s counsel had said the prosecution was allowed to bring their witnesses during recording of defence witness` testimonies.
"If they were allowed to bring new witnesses, we should also be given an opportunity to produce our witness in the interest of justice and fair trial on behalf of the accused," the counsel added.
The counsel for Pawan Gupta had also sought the court`s direction to bring one witness as he could not depose earlier for the reason that his son-in-law expired at that time.
The court had already concluded recording statements of the defence witnesses in the case but it observed the accused should be given a last chance in the interest of justice and for a fair trial.
The court, while allowing two defence witnesses, said "this is the last opportunity for you (Vinay and Pawan) to close your defence evidence in the case".
The judge, in his order, also said the prosecution will first put forward its points and it will be followed by the arguments of the defence counsel.
Vinay had claimed that on December 16, he had gone to a music event organised by the Church in the DDA district park at Hauz Khas in south Delhi and co-accused Pawan Gupta was also present there. However, his claim was refuted by prosecution witnesses.
The court has recorded the statements of 85 prosecution witnesses.
According to the prosecution, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh had allegedly gang-raped the girl in a moving bus. 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, is facing inquiry before the juvenile justice board here.