A special court trying four adult accused for allegedly gang-raping a 23-year-old paramedic in a bus in New Delhi on Wednesday concluded recording of the evidence and would hear final arguments from Thursday.
Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna fixed August 22 to start final arguments after the statements of the defence witnesses on behalf of accused Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh were recorded.
"... the defence evidence on behalf of all accused stands closed. The final arguments to start tomorrow (August 22). The prosecution shall begin first," the court said.
Vinay in his statements had claimed that on December 16, he had gone to a music event organised by the Church in the DDA district park at Hauz Khas in south Delhi and co-accused Pawan was also present there. However, the accused's claim was rejected by the prosecution witnesses.
The same was the plea of Akshay who had said that he was not in the bus and had left for his village in Bihar, a day prior to the incident.
Mukesh, during his deposition, had said he was driving the bus in which the girl was sexually assaulted and her male friend was brutally attacked by his brother Ram Singh, Vinay, Pawan, Akshay and the juvenile.
However, the other three had refuted Mukesh's submissions before the judge and had claimed innocence saying they were not in the bus.
The court concluded recording of evidence on behalf of the prosecution and the accused in a total of 117 effective hearings.
According to the prosecution, Ram Singh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan and Mukesh had allegedly gang raped the girl in a moving bus after alluring her and a 28-year-old male friend who was assaulted with an iron rod.
The victim's friend, a software engineer, got fracture during the scuffle but the girl died of her injuries on December 29, 2012, while undergoing treatment in a Singapore hospital.
During the trial, Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail on March 11 and court proceedings against him stand abated. The sixth accused, a juvenile, is facing inquiry before the juvenile justice board.
In the case, the prosecution has examined 85 witnesses to prove its case against the four adult accused. The accused have brought 17 defence witnesses to strengthen their plea of alibi.
The last defence witness on behalf of Vinay, a coconut water seller deposed in the court that on the incident night there was a music function at the DDA district park and Vinay had gone there with his parents and friends.
However, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said the witness is deposing falsely at the behest of the accused's parents.
He further told the judge that Vinay was present in the bus along with other five co-accused including the juvenile.
"During this period, the accused committed robbery with one Ramadhar and thereafter they induced the victim and her male friend to board the bus.
"Later, they all robbed the two and also gang raped and inflcited injury on the body of the victim which resulted in her death," the prosecution claimed.
A P Singh and Vivek Sharma, the counsel for Vinay, Akshay and Pawan refuted the prosecution's claim and said the accused have been falsely implicated.