Dec 16 gangrape accused lists Dikshit as defence witness

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) An accused in the Dec 16 gangrape case 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.

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