Turf war on rape probe
Investigations regarding the gang-rape and assault of a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus here on December 16 have led to a turf war between Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Police over the probe procedure adopted in the case.
Dikshit has sent a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde stating that senior Delhi Police officers interfered while the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) was recording the victim’s statement on Saturday and requested a high-level inquiry into the matter.
Her letter said B M Mishra, Deputy Commissioner of East, Delhi, sent her a letter stating that when Usha Chaturvedi, SDM, went to record the statement of the victim, police officers prevented her from video recording her statement. Moreover, police also insisted they would give her questions which she should ask the victim. Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar expressed shock and surprise over the SDM’s complaint. “The victim’s mother objected to her statement being videographed, hence it was not done. Even the doctors objected to it. Hence, it was not done,” he said.
Clarifying the force’s stand, Kumar said, “Police themselves called the SDM to record the statement. The police department approached Neela Mohanan, Deputy Commissioner, New Delhi district, to depute an SDM for recording the statement. But since she had no SDM reporting to her, police approached Divisional Commissioner Dharampal, who deputed Chaturvedi to record the victim’s statement.”
Kumar said the police department only briefed Chaturvedi about the facts of the case. Police officers were not present in the hospital room when the victim’s statement was recorded by the SDM. The police department gave no questionnaire to her as alleged, he said.
Kumar said that if the situation was not conducive to recording the statement, Chaturvedi should have gone back without recording it. But she recorded it, and then the news of the complaint to the home minister became public.
Kumar expressed reservations over the complaint being sent to the home minister without taking into consideration the police department’s view. He also said that while Delhi Police had no issues with any other deputy commissioner or SDM, Chaturvedi and police were entangled in some matters on two occasions earlier.