An accused in the Dec 16 gang rape case on Wednesday sought permission of a fast track court here to make Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit a defence witness in the case. Counsel for Akshay Thakur told the court that the chief minister should be called as a defence witness as she had complained of interference by Delhi Police officers in recording the 23-year-old gangrape victim’s statement by a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) in December 2012.
Akshay’s counsel filed a list of defence witnesses before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna to prove his innocence, after the judge concluded recording of statement of all the accused. Seeking permission to call Dikshit as witness in the case, Thakur’s counsel said: “We want to call Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit as a defence witness to prove the controversy regarding the false and planted statement of the victim.” Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan opposed Thakur’s request and said the defence counsel had named Dikshit to “get publicity”.
“There is no need for calling so many witnesses. Just to establish that the accused was not present in Delhi, I think one or two of the family members are enough. Most of the witnesses are irrelevant and have nothing to do with the case,” he said.
The court reserved its order on the issue for Thursday.
After the victim’s statement was recorded in December, government sources said that SDM Usha Chaturvedi had claimed that three senior police officers had prevented the video recording of the woman’s statement. She had also alleged the officials wanted the SDM to use their questionnaire.
Dikshit later wrote a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over the alleged interference of police.
However, Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar denied the allegations.
Thakur’s counsel also sought to call as witness doctor Naresh Trehan, director of Medanta Hospital, and all family members of Thakur as witnesses in his defence to show that he was not in Delhi Dec 16, 2012, when the woman was gangraped by six pepole in a moving bus.
“It is very important to know that on whose instruction Trehan was visiting the victim at Safdarjung Hospital here,” Thakur said.
Thakur claimed that he had left for his native village in Bihar Dec 16, a day before the incident.
Co-accused Pawan’s counsel Vivek Sharma also submitted a list of seven witnesses, including his father and uncle, who had brought the accused from a musical function in south Delhi as he had fallen asleep there Dec 16, 2012, the night of the incident.
Pawan, in his statement before the court, said that Dec 16, 2012 he left his fruit shop early and consumed liquor at his home. Later in the evening, he had accompanied Vinay Sharma to a music function in south Delhi.
Another accused Mukesh’s counsel told the court that he would not be calling any witness in his defence.
The case relates a woman who was brutally tortured and gangraped in a moving bus by five men and a juvenile, after she boarded the vehicle with her male friend.
The juvenile is facing proceedings before a Juvenile Justice Board where order has been reserved, while the four other accused were put up for trial in the fast-track court. One of the accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail, where he was lodged.
Delhi Gang Rape Timeline
Dec 16: A 23-year-old physiotherapy student is brutally raped in a bus in Delhi. Victim admitted to Safdarjung Hospital by the police.
Dec 17: Bus driver Ram Singh and two others arrested.
Dec 18: Public sentiment boils over leading to huge demonstrations as protesters clash with police at various places. Fourth accused arrested.
Dec 19: Doctors treating the girl comment about her unstable condition though she manages to communicate with docs by writing.
Dec 20: Students of various universities protest outside CM Sheila Dixit’s residence
Dec 21: The fifth accused, a juvenile is arrested and one of the culprits is identified by the victim’s male friend in Tihar. Delhi Police starts search operation in Haryana and Bihar for another accused. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital chairman offers victim free intestinal transplant, an offer which is considered a publicity stunt by many since the victim’s not stable enough for one
Dec 23: Delhi High Court sets up fast track court
Dec 24: PM Manmohan Singh requests people to keep calm and suffers a major faux paus as he’s heard off-camera asking people Thik Hai?
Dec 26: Government decides to fly victim to Singapore for further treatment which raises questions about whether she would survive the journey and why she wasn’t taken to a better facility in Delhi like AIIMS which is just around the corner.
Dec 27: She’s airlifted to Singapore
Dec 29: She succumbs to her injuries at 4:45 AM
Dec 30: Her body is flown back to Delhi
Jan 1: Special task-force to deal with women’s safety in Delhi icreated
Jan 3: A case of rape, murder, kidnapping, destruction of evidence, and attempted murder on the male victim is filed against all the five accused in the case.
Jan 5: Her friend gives an interview to Zee News which documents their ordeal including public and police apathy to their plight
Jan 9: The accused demand legal representation; lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma fights their case
Jan 10: Sharma declares victims were responsible for their predicament.
Jan 28: The Juvenile Justice Board declares that one of the six accused is a minor despite no strong evidence to suggest it. Age-testing is ruled out.
Feb 3: The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, with suggestions from the Verma Committee Report introduced.
Feb 5: The trial starts
March 11: The main accused, Ram Singh is found hanging in his jail cell that he shared with two other accused.
April 4: One of the accused claims Tihar guards harassing him
April 11: Vinay’s counsel claims two of the accused were not present on the bus
May 1: Defence harasses male friend by claiming he’s a womaniser
May 10: Vinay and Akshay’s advocate AP Singh asks for male friend to undergo polygraph test
June 4: Juvenile accused turns 18 according to school certificate
July 11: Juvenile board defers judgement till July 25 to decide whether to try the minor in the case as an adult or a minor.
July 18: Supreme Court refuses to reduce the juvenile age to 16