'December 16 gang-rape victim's friend is a tutored witness'



New Delhi: The December 16 gang-rape accused on Thursday claimed in a fast-track court that the friend of the 23-year-old victim was a "tutored witness" and has recorded his statement before the magistrate under the "influence" of Delhi police.

However, prosecution witness, a magistrate who recorded the friend's statement earlier, said "I did not feel that he is a tutored witness".

All the four accused present in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna alleged the victim's friend was compelled by the police to give a statement against the six men arrested soon after the incident.

"I had recorded the statement of complainant (victim's friend) verbatim. I had not asked any question by myself in between the recording of the statement. I simply noted down the statement in the manner he stated to me. While recording the statement, I did not feel that he is a tutored witness.

"I recorded his statement after being satisfied about the voluntariness of the complainant," the magistrate, who today appeared in the court as prosecution witness number 69, told the court during his cross-examination by the counsel for accused.

The 28-year-old software engineer, who along with the girl, who was allegedly brutally assaulted by the six offenders with an iron rod and was later thrown out of the moving bus, had appeared before the magistrate on December 19, 2012 to give his eyewitness account of the incident.

The magistrate also deposed in the court that the youth was only accompanied by the investigating officer (IO) for recording his statement under section 164 of CrPC.

"It is wrong to suggest that the IO and the complainant were accompanied by a number of other police officials when they entered my court room," the judicial officer said.

The youth had appeared before the magistrate on its summons to him on Delhi Police's plea for its direction for recording of his statement under section 164 (recording of confession and statement) of the CrPC, as he was the eyewitness and also the victim of the incident.

The statement recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of CrPC bind the accused/witness against taking any U-turn by him during trial and any such act makes him liable to be prosecuted on the charge of perjury.

Besides the magistrate, the court has also recorded the statement of an employee of IGIS Infra Management who had first received the call at its control room about the alleged incident on December 16 night at around 10:07 pm.

The 48-year-old man deposed in the court that on that night he was on duty and he had received an information through walkie talkie from his patrolling staff that one boy and one girl were lying on road without clothes on the service road coming from Gurgaon side toward Delhi.

"Till the said incident, our company was not maintaining any record of the details of the calls in our control room but after this incident we had started maintaining the record of the details of calls," the witness told the court.

Both the victim, a paramedical student, and her male friend, who had boarded the chartered bus with tinted glass windows from Munirka in south Delhi to Palam around 9.45 PM on a Sunday night, were assaulted with an iron rod by the men after the two resisted before they were dumped on the road side near Mahipalpur flyover.

PTI