Millennium Post

Police, Sheila lock horns

Police, Sheila lock horns
Delhi Police on Tuesday virtually hit back at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for accusing the force of ‘interference’ while recording the statement of the 23- year-old rape victim on a day a constable succumbed to his injuries sustained during Sunday’s violent protests.

Police’s strong response came a day after Dikshit shot off a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde citing a communication to her by Deputy Commissioner (East) B M Mishra that Sub Divisional Magistrate Usha Chaturvedi had complained about senior police officials’ interference while she was recording the statement of the victim.

Denying the allegations, City Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said police never forced any questionnaire on the SDM.

The SDM had complained that police had told her to ask the victim only from the questionnaire the investigators had prepared.

The SDM could have refused to record the statement if at any point she had felt pressure from the police, he said. As soon as Dikshit complained to Home Minister on Monday, police immediately sought recording of victim’s statement before a Metropolitan Magistrate, which have more legal value.

‘The victim recorded the statement before a judicial magistrate today. This has more evidentiary value,’ he said.

Earlier, Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said the force would demand a high-level probe into the ‘leakage’ of Chief Minister’s top secret letter to the Home Minister and how it made to media. Dikshit has been making a strong pitch of bringing the city police under Delhi government from Home Ministry’s control.

Ever since the public outrage over the incident, the Chief Minister has made it clear that she cannot be held responsible for actions of police which is not under her government’s control.

Police has made known its unhappiness over Dikshit passing on the buck and raking up a ‘non-issue’ at this juncture by writing to Shinde. Kumar said, ‘The statement of the rape victim and her mother was recorded. So if the SDM had felt that something was wrong, then why did she record the statement. The statement was recorded on 21 December and why after so long on 24 December, a complaint came out. And even if the complaint has been filed, then the side of the police should have also been heard. Such kind of things affect  investigation. The contents have been made known to media,’ he said. Kumar also claimed that they had encountered problems with Chaturvedi earlier while dealing with cases of two rioting cases in east Delhi. Rejecting claims that police prevented the videography of the process, he said girl’s mother had objected to it as she thought they were media persons as also doctors who felt that presence of more people may lead to infection.

Providing the sequence of events, Kumar said at one stage, they felt that the girl may not pull through and police wanted a statement since only an SDM can record a dying declaration.

‘ACP (Vasant Vihar) approached Deputy Commissioner of New Delhi Neela Mohanan for an SDM but she asked him to approach Divisional Commissioner as she did not have any woman SDM under her jurisdiction. Then Divisional Commissioner Dharampal assigned Chaturvedi for the job,’ he said.

Chaturvedi asked Assistant Commissioner to meet her near PHQ on 21 December at 6 pm initially but later preponed by an hour saying she had orders to record the statement as fast as possible.

‘She said she wanted to know the facts of the case and was taken to Vasant Vihar police station where she was briefed about the case and then she was taken to hospital where she recorded the statement,’ Kumar said. ‘She was only supposed to record the statement but not probe the matter,’ he said.

Home Ministry sources said they are likely to order a probe into the Chief Minister’s complaint. ‘We are taking the complaint very seriously,’ a senior Ministry official said.


VICTIM’S STATEMENT RECORDED AGAIN


The statement of a 23-year-old rape victim was recorded here for the second time, after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit complained about police ‘influence’ during recording the first statement. The victim's first statement was recorded by Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Usha Chaturvedi on 21 December. The official later had sent a letter to chief minister claiming that three senior police officers had prevented the video recording of the victim's statement. It was also alleged that the police wanted the SDM to use their questionnaire.
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