Retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro has serious questions over Delhi Police’s probe in the riots cases and its charge sheet. The former supercop said the police have deliberately framed students and activists to please their political bosses in the Centre. Ribeiro spoke with Sudhir Suryawanshi about the probe, the Sushant Singh Rajput case and other topical issues.
Why do you doubt the riots probe by Delhi Police?
Delhi Police has filed the 17,500-page charge sheet naming students, research scholars and social activists. Many of them have been charged under the UAPA, generally applied against terrorists. Delhi Police have used it against students and scholars who disagree with the BJP government’s policies. It raises suspicion over their intention. These people were framed on unconvincing charges. Therefore, I wrote a letter asking the Delhi Police not to fall in the trap of the political bosses and perform their duty as per the law with sincerity.
What process has to be followed while filing charge sheet in such cases?
In post-riot situations, one FIR is generally filed by calling all accused and respondents. Police have to hear out both sides. The charge sheet should not be one-sided or target a certain community.
What could be the intention in framing these charges?
Apart from registering cases against people from the minority community, police also named Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh and Apoorvanand in the supplementary charge sheet. These activists were allegedly accused of “provoking and mobilising” anti-CAA protesters. Now, confusion has been created that the cases against them will not be serious and they will not be arrested or held guilty and so on. I think these are attempts and tactics to hound these people, so that no one stands against the government in the long run. They not only want to scare them but also warn others who support and defend the voices of dissent. The BJP does not like ‘dissent’, particularly the Modi-Shah duo.
But 26 former IPS officers have extended their support to the Delhi Police.
Everyone must understand that I always speak my mind whether BJP is in power or Congress. I believe in the land of the law and IPC procedures. I am not an agent of any political party but the agent of truth and justice. When I was the Punjab Police chief, the then Union Home Minister Buta Singh asked me to arrest certain people allegedly linked to the Khalistan movement. I refused to follow his order blindly saying, ‘it is not my job to arrest someone as per your instructions without any proof’.
When Vilasrao Deshmukh was Maharashtra Home Minister, he asked me to release a certain gangster. But I refused to do so. I remained honest with my uniform and principles. I expect the same from Delhi Police.
What’s the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva of BJP-RSS?
Frankly, I do not understand the difference between Hinduism and Hindutva at all. But, BJP is using it to consolidate the majority and marginalise the minorities. No religion propagates such kinds of persecutions. Most of my bosses were Hindus, but I never got this kind of feeling. PM Modi has taken several good initiatives. However, now they are focusing more on divergent tactics, so the people don’t raise questions about the failing economy, rising unemployment, pandemic, etc.
What’s your view about the Sushant Singh Rajput case?
It was systematically blown up to target the Maha Vikas Aghadi and the Uddhav Thackeray government. The Centre has engaged multiple agencies to ascertain whether Sushant died by natural causes or suicide. ED was asked to probe allegations that Rhea Chakraborty had siphoned off `16 crore from him. After a month, neither CBI nor ED is able to show any substantial proof or establish any wrongdoing. Now, NCB has arrested Rhea on charges of drug supply. The NCB probe will continue until the Bihar election. The BJP’s goal has changed from toppling the Maha Vikas Aghadi to winning the polls in Bihar.