IO can't be examined in the absence of accused: Court

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New Delhi, May 18: A fast-track court here today said that it cannot examine an Investigating Officer of the December 16 gangrape case in the absence of the accused.

The court also asked the Tihar authorities to produce the latest medical report on May 20 of accused Vinay Sharma, who is hospitalised since May 4 at a hospital here after he complained of high fever, sore throat and mouth ulcers.

"The boy (accused Vinay Sharma) is not well. If you (the prosecution) record the evidence of the Investigating Officer, then the boy has to be here. Otherwise, in future there will be a problem. You can proceed only if the accused moves an exemption application," Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said, adding that the non-appearance of the accused will delay the trial.

Senior Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan then suggested that the court may consider appointing a commission to record IO's statement in the hospital before the bed-ridden accused.

However, the counsel for Vinay vehemently opposed it.

"In that case, we will have to find out another solution," the judge said and added that meanwhile, other witnesses can be examined till the time Vinay recovers and is discharged.

Terming as "crucial" the testimony of IO Pratibha Rani, who had probed the case before the victim died, defence lawyers said that she has to be examined "throughly" as the matter was later transfered to her senior officer and SHO.

The counsel for Vinay and Pawan said that the IO has to identify the accused "which is very important".

"Then, examine the remaining prosecution witnesses. Also call the SHO for recording his evidence before this IO. Let us see how much we can delay the recording of evidence of the IO...," the court said.

Four accused - Vinay, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur - are on trial for the gangrape and murder of 23-year-old paramedical student and attack on her friend on the night of December 16.

The girl died of her injuries on December 29 last year. Vinay's medical problems had first started on April 4 when Vinay's medical problems had first started on April 4 when he suffered a fracture in his hand.

The accused was again hospitalised on May 4 here after he complained of high fever, sore throat and mouth ulcers.

Out of six accused, Ram Singh was found hanging in his prison cell in Tihar on March 11 and consequently, the trial against him was abated.

The sole juvenile accused in the case is facing trial separately before a Juvenile Justice Board.

PTI

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