The neighbours of an accused in the December 16 gang rape case on Thursday claimed in a Delhi court that he was attending a music function with friends and was not in the bus in which a 23-year-old girl was gang-raped by six persons.
Two of the neighbours, appearing as defence witness for accused Vinay Sharma, told Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna that "the accused is innocent as he was with us at the time of the incident".
"We, along with them (Vinay and his family members), went to the district park to attend a musical programme," the witnesses said. This statement is similar to that given by Vinay earlier in his deposition in which he had said that he was at the district park with his family to attend a music function and was not in the bus in which the heinous crime was committed.
The witnesses, meanwhile, refuted the Delhi police's submission that no musical function was organised in that district park on December 16.
The police submitted that as per the horticulture department of the Delhi Development Authority, which maintains the park, no such type of activities are held there after 7 pm and nor is anyone allowed inside the park after that time.
The police also said the defence witnesses have concocted a false story at the behest of the accused and his family members and are deposing falsely in the case.
The allegation of the police was denied by the two witnesses. On Wednesday, Vinay's parents had also claimed in the court that their son was innocent and he should be acquitted.
They had refuted the police allegation that Vinay was one of the six who had also raped the girl and assaulted her male friend with an iron rod. The prosecution has claimed Vinay was in the company of accused Ram Singh, Mukesh, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and the juvenile.
The police told the court that Vinay and others have first lured one carpenter into the bus on December 16, 2012 night and robbed him and later pushed him out of the moving vehicle.
The police also said that later they induced the girl and her friend to board the bus. During recording of statement before the court, Vinay had claimed he was not in the bus and had gone to a music function along with co-accused Pawan Gupta.
However, accused Mukesh, during his deposition, had told the court that he was driving the bus in which the girl was sexually assaulted and her male friend was brutally attacked by his elder brother Ram Singh, Vinay, Pawan, Akshay Thakur and the juvenile.