New Delhi: The 28-year-old male friend of the girl and the sole eyewitness to the brutal assault and gangrape of the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, was today cross examined by the defence in the fast-track court trying the case.
The youth, a software engineer, had yesterday testified as a witness for the prosecution in-camera proceedings against the five accused, who have pleaded not guilty to charges, including rape and murder, framed against them.
The victim's friend was brought before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna in a wheelchair because of the injuries inflicted on him in the heinous attack on December 16, 2012. His is cross-examination will continue tomorrow.
The details of the proceedings cannot be reported by the media as the court has imposed a ban on it under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Apart from the victim's friend, three others were to give evidence. However, they could not do it today due to paucity of time.
The girl’s male friend was with her on the bus during the attack on December 16 last year. Before the 23-year-old medical student was raped and tortured by the six accused, her male companion was also hit badly with an iron rod that he is still unable to walk properly.
Yesterday, he arrived in court on a wheelchair, escorted by his father.
The trial in the December 16 case began in a fast-track court on Tuesday against the five accused, around 50 days after the girl’s brutal rape.
The sixth accused, a minor, is being tried in a juvenile court.
On Saturday, the five suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. If convicted, they could face death penalty. The sixth accuse faces a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility.
The girl’s father yesterday demanded death penalty for the five men and a juvenile accused.
Before she died, 23-year-old girl gave her statement before a judge for the prosecution of all accused. The girl’s statement along with that of her male friend's testimony will be crucial.
In a television interview, the girl’s friend said that over an hour after the attack on them began, the couple was thrown from the bus onto the road. He said that the gang on the bus wanted to run the student over, but he pushed her out of the way.
The day-to-day trial in the December 16 case is being held in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna after framing charges of murder, gang-rape and kidnapping, among others, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the five accused.
Delhi Police on Monday filed a supplementary chargesheet that included the autopsy report of the physiotherapy intern who was gang-raped by the six on Dec 16 last year, in a moving bus. She died Dec 29 in a Singapore hospital.
The other charges framed against the accused are unnatural offence, destruction of evidence, attempt to murder, causing hurt while committing robbery, dacoity with murder, and common intent.
The court had earlier restricted media from reporting the proceedings in the case and ordered an in-camera trial.
As the trial began in the court, the father of the young woman addressed a press conference to assert that he would approach the courts to ensure that justice was done.
"I want all six of them to be hanged. We will go to the court and pursue the case till the end," he said, with one of his sons by his side.
He said his daughter should not be addressed as a gang-rape victim. "It hurts me. She should be called the country's brave daughter," the father said.
He also said he did not have "much knowledge" about the ordinance promulgated on Sunday that awards stricter punishment for sexual crimes against women, including death sentence in rare cases.
"We have received Rs.15 lakh from the Delhi government," he said. "But the money cannot make up for our loss."
He said the law should be amended so that the juvenile attacker could also be hanged.
With Agency inputs
First Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013, 09:52