The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Vikas Yadav, prime accused in the Nitish Katara murder case, to produce all his defence witnesses before the trial court by September 20.
Giving last opportunity to the accused, Justice VB Gupta allowed Yadav's petition seeking a direction to the trial Judge to let him produce all his witnesses.
Yadav has sought permission to produce a total of 40 witnesses to depose in his favour to counter the allegations of prosecution that he, along with his cousin, was involved in the five-year-old murder case.
The trial court has so far examined 15 such witnesses and dropped 23 of them. It also disallowed two others after they failed to appear before the court on several occasions.
Justice Gupta also asked Vikas' counsel to complete depositions of two witnesses Sandeep Mishra, an Allahabad-based advocate and one Ranbir Singh on August 20, as they were disallowed earlier by the trial court.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Yadav, challenging the trial court's order on July 17 declining examination of 23 defence witnesses in the case.
The Delhi Police counsel, Mukta Gupta, opposing his petition, contended that the defence had been adopting delaying tactics due to which the trial court had decided to drop the witnesses.
"Since May 15, as and when, the matter was listed for defence witnesses' deposition, they have sought adjournments on one ground or the other," she submitted.
The petitioner has also alleged that the trial Judge had not given him fair opportunity to put his defence in the case.
On the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002, Nitish Katara, son of a former IAS officer, was allegedly murdered after being kidnapped by Vikas and his cousin Vishal Yadav, who were against his growing proximity with their sister Bharti Yadav.