NEW DELHI: The face-off between Delhi Police and AAP government intensified today with both sides hardening their positions following a meeting between city's top police officer B S Bassi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held in the backdrop of the murder of a 19-year-old girl.
After the over one-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said the police was treating the case "lightly" and termed its stand "objectionable" while accusing Bassi of stonewalling a number of queries by Kejriwal.
Jain, who was present in the meeting, said Bassi gave a list of 500 similar cases urging the government to offer Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to families of the victims like it did in the case of the teenaged girl which was rejected by Kejriwal.
"Kejriwal asked Bassi to take the list to his boss Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bassi replied saying the PM is too much pre-occupied with other works and has no time for Delhi Police," Jain told reporters noting that Delhi Police should be sensitive and that Bassi must answer the Chief Minister's queries.
Attacking Delhi Police, Jain accused it of politicising the probe into the girl's murder and said the police was ignoring the common people of Delhi. He said the Chief Minister has jurisdiction to question the police.
Bassi rejected Jain's contention, saying the police takes any incident of crime as a challenge and that there was a lack of "appreciations of nuances of law".
"In this case there was no need for remand of accused. That would have been improper. I tried to explain in what circumstances remand is sought," the Police Commissioner said on Jain questioning police on its decision not seek remand of the accused.
He said, "We owe duty to rule of law. It'll be unfortunate if police succumbs to public pressure" adding "certain expectations" could not be met as they were beyond jurisdiction of law.
Bassi said Delhi Police is "robustly independent" and that there is no political pressure on it because those in-charge of administrative control of police "have no local vested interests".
"Delhi Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs have local expectations. For that reason there is a possibility of their judgement getting coloured whereas Union ministers have no local vested interests letting us to work independently," he said.
Downplaying arguments in the meeting, Bassi called the deliberations with Kejriwal "cordial and positive" where he tried to present the police's version on range of issues including its role in the society.
"Our communication (with the AAP government), which was very good earlier, would become even better," he said after meeting Kejriwal.
Giving indication of the position he had taken on several issues, Bassi said the meeting was held in a professional manner keeping the law of the land in focus.
"I told the Chief Minister about the honesty with which the Delhi Police tackles cases," he said, adding Kejriwal got to know his view.
The Chief Minister's Office had asked Bassi to bring a list of pending cases of crime against woman, status of the cases filed as well as details of the SHOs who have not been transferred despite completing their terms.
Bassi was also asked to bring a list of beat constables and list of inspectors who were never made SHOs. But the top cop did not bring the details as sought by the CMO.
Ahead of the meeting with Kejriwal, Bassi called on Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
Asked whether Kejriwal's remarks calling the Delhi Police personnel 'thulla' figured, he suggested in affirmative and said, "I would like to suggest to my colleagues that theyshould not take such things or criticism by heart."
AAP has been at loggerheads with Delhi Police over a number of issues and the party has stepped up its attack against it after arrest of its two MLAs. It has been accusing Delhi Police of bias against it saying its MLAs are being targeted under political pressure.
Bassi termed the AAP government's demand of being given the charge of Delhi Police as a "political issue" adding that the present system was the best one.
"Control over Delhi Police is a political issue. My personal opinion is that the Delhi Police system is an excellent system. Its a very good fortune of people of Delhi that an independent machinery works here which does everything as per law," he said.
He denied that Kejriwal was putting pressure on Delhi Police adding that "he has his own ideas and he is concerned with issues of Delhi. Anyone who is concerned with such issues will have his judgement impacted by local issues. It's natural."
Bassi said that it came during discussions that Delhi Police was not working independently and it was suggested that if it worked with Delhi government, better rsults would have come.
"I had worked with the previous government and now I am working with the present government. I was never under pressure before or now. We do what we thing is right.
"I told them that no one asked us when we arrested Tomar and another MLA. Or anybody (Centre) asked us afterwards," he said."
Terming Delhi Police as "impartial" police he said, "Idon't need to run to any Union (government) functionary. If you (Delhi government) want to help us you can do so."
On the question of Delhi Police reporting to Union government, Bassi said that "what is needed to be reported to Union government is reported to them and what is needed to be reported to be Delhi government is reported to them."
He said that he suggested to the Chief Minister to forward the complaints against Delhi Police personnel at 1031 helpline and "we will act doubly against guilty than you expected", but added that there was "lack of confidence (over Delhi Police).
He said "any incident of crime is dealt with as a challenge and responsibility is on the police to give justice to the victim, especially the one's coming from vulnerable section," rejecting criticism that police was not being sensitive in probing the 19-year-old girl's murder.
Bassi, later, met Chief Secretary K K Sharma.
Jain said the Police Commissioner told Kejriwal that the accused stabbed the girl after she spit seeing him.
Meenakshi was brutally stabbed to death allegedly by two brothers living in her neighbourhood in central Delhi's Anand Parbat area for protesting their verbally abusing her on July 16.
The Police Commissioner also said Meenakshi never filed any complaint pertaining to harassment and stalking against the accused in 2013 as reported.
"Police has claimed it to be a normal case despite the fact that she was stabbed for 32 times," Jain said.