Dikshit not to take witness box in gangrape case

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) A fast track court hearing the Dec 16 gang rape case Thursday dismissed the plea of an accused to make Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit a defence witness.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna rejected the plea of accused Akshay Thakur saying it amounted to an abuse of the legal process.

"The request to summon the chief minister to prove the alleged controversy or alleged false recording of statement of the prosecutrix is nothing but an abuse of the process," the court said.

It also declined the request of the accused to summon Sub-Divisional Magistrate Usha Chaturvedi as a defence witness.

Denying Thakur's request, the judge said: "Prosecution witness Usha Chaturvedi has already been examined/cross-examined extensively. Hence, the request is declined."

Thakur's counsel while filing the list of witnesses to prove his innocence had said that there was a controversy surrounding the victim's statement to magistrate and the manner in which it was recorded.

He submitted that he wanted Dikshit's testimony in the case to clarify the issue.

The SDM, in December 2012, claimed that three police officers interfered with the recording of the victim's statement. Dikshit had written to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, demanding a probe into the matter.

The court, however, allowed Thakur's request to call as witness his family members to establish his claim that he was not in Delhi Dec 16, 2012, when the woman was gangraped by six people in a moving bus.

"The witness...proposes to depose that accused Thakur left Delhi on Dec 15, 2012 and reached his village, in his home town on Dec 16, 2012," the court's order said.

The accused may present any five of the witnesses - his family members - in his defence, the court said.

Thakur's counsel had presented a list of 14 witnesses and eight documents on his behalf.

The court also considered Thakur's request to summon CCTV footage of New Delhi Railway Station to establish his claim that he departed from Delhi Dec 15, 2012 by Maha Bodhi Express.

The court said: "The incharge (security) of the New Delhi Railway Station through the DRM of New Delhi Railway Station to produce the CCTV coverage of such platform of at least one hour before its departure time on Dec 15, 2012."

The court, however, rejected Thakur's requested to call doctor Naresh Trehan, director of Medanta Hospital, as a defence witness saying he need not to be summoned.

Co-accused Pawan Gupta's counsel presented a list of seven witnesses to appear on behalf of his client.

"The list of seven witnesses as has been filed on behalf of Pawan by his counsel...to be produced in his defence. None of the witnesses need to be summoned. Accused may produce these witnesses for July 19-20," the court said.

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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