New Delhi: One of the accused in the December 16 gang-rape case on Wednesday told a Delhi court that he is innocent and claimed that the other five co-accused had brutally assaulted and gang-raped the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus.
Trying to wash his hands off the crime, Mukesh contended before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna that he was only driving the bus, while the other co-accused committed the crime and threw the girl and her male friend out of the bus near a flyover.
"I was only driving the bus. The other accused put off the light inside the bus at a flyover near Malai Mandir in south Delhi," Mukesh said in reply to the question put by the judge.
On being asked by the judge why they had picked up the victim and her friend from the bus stop at Munirka in south Delhi, Mukesh said they had stopped the bus as the youth had gestured with his hand to board it.
According to the police, on December 16, a female physiotherapy intern was beaten up and gang-raped in a bus in which she was travelling with her male friend who was also brutally attacked with an iron rod.
There were six others in the bus, including the driver, Ram Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh all of whom had raped the girl, it said.
The victim died of her injuries on December 29 last year while undergoing treatment at 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 the inquiry before the juvenile justice board here. Mukesh said he was driving the bus while his elder brother Ram Singh and the juvenile were calling passengers.
"I was driving the bus while my brother Ram Singh, since deceased, and the juvenile were calling for passengers by saying Palam/Dwarka Mod (junction)," he said.
"It was 3x2 sitter bus. Accused Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma were sitting on the back side of the driver`s seat, whereas Akshay Thakur was sitting in the driver`s cabin," he added.
Mukesh said he was asked to drive the bus by his brother as the others were drunk.
He denied beating the victim`s male friend and abusing him. He said as the light of the bus was off, he could not say who started the quarrel first.
He also submitted that when the girl was allegedly screaming for help, he was driving the bus and had not left the driver`s seat to rape the girl.
"I did not leave the driver`s seat even for a moment. The door of the cabin was shut, so I was not able to hear the voice clearly," he said.
On being asked whether Ram Singh had asked for an iron rod to beat the youth, Mukesh said that he was not aware of it.
He also told the judge that after the victim and her friend were thrown out of the bus, he parked the bus in RK Puram sector-3 in front of Ravi Das camp in south Delhi.
"I parked the bus. When I was cleaning the bus at around 12:30 pm, I saw the clothes of the girl and her friend. Accused Akshay and the juvenile were also cleaning the bus," he said.
Meanwhile, the Tihar jail supreintendent and Saket Court lock up incharge have been directed to transport Mukesh alone to and fro from the court, after he expressed apprehension that he may be harmed by other co-accused in the case.
The deposition of Mukesh will continue on Thursday.