STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 4 July
The owner of the bus, in which the brutal gang-rape of a paramedical girl took place on 16 December last year, today deposed before a city court as prosecution witness where he said that the vehicle was in continuous custody of its driver, Ram Singh, on the day of the incident and the following day also.
Bus owner Dinesh Yadav was produced before Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna from Tihar jail where he is lodged in connection with a case of cheating and forgery in getting his vehicles registered and plying them on Delhi roads illegally.
“Accused Ram Singh (deceased) was the driver of the bus in the month of December 2012. One Akshay was the helper. I had not seen Akshay and hence cannot identify him. This bus was being parked by accused Ram Singh near his house because this bus was attached with the school and also with an office as a chartered bus to take officials from Delhi to Noida and that the accused used to pick up the students early in the morning,” he told the court The court also summoned as prosecution witness Ramadhar, a carpenter who was robbed by the accused in the bus before they gang-raped the girl.
The judge’s direction came on the application of police for its permission to call Yadav and Ramadhar as a prosecution witnesses in the case. Police in their application said that Ramadhar’s testimony could show that the accused on the night of the incident had conspired to commit offences with commuters on the bus. Not summoning the two witnesses may be perceived as being unfair to the accused, the police application said. Counsel for accused Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh — who are facing trial for the gang-rape and murder of the woman, besides for offences under various other sections of the Indian Penal Code – opposed the prosecution’s move.
Counsel appearing for Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur argued that since police had dropped Yadav’s name as a witness from their list, he could not be summoned.
The court had rejected the submission and said since the prosecution evidence was going on, there was no harm in calling any such witness.
Meanwhile, the court deferred the cross-examination of a woman investigating officer, who initially probed the case. The cross-examination of the officer will continue after the two new prosecution witnesses record their statements.