Bassi, Kejriwal meeting breaks no ice

The much awaited meeting of  Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi and  Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday could not break the ice rather widened the rift between the two authorities as the former refused to share crucial information sought by Delhi government on posting and promotion of police officials. After a one and half hour meeting, called in the backdrop of a gruesome murder of a 19 year old girl, both – Delhi police and the government; addressed separate press conferences expressing apprehensions.

“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,” said B S Bassi to media persons after the meeting. He went on to add that the citizens of Delhi were lucky that Delhi police was under the control of Central government.  “We owe duty to rule of law. It’ll be unfortunate if police succumbs to public pressure... certain expectations could not be met as they were beyond jurisdiction of law,” added Delhi police chief.

He maintained that Delhi Police was “robustly independent” and that there was no political pressure on it because those in administrative control of police “have no vested local interests”. He, however, called the deliberations with Kejriwal “cordial and positive” where he tried to present the police’s version on a range of issues including its role in the society.

“Our communication (with the AAP government), which was very good earlier, would become even better,” said Bassi as his final comment on the meeting.

Addressing the media from government side Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain however alleged that the police was treating the case “lightly” and termed its stand “objectionable”. “The Police Commissioner stonewalled a number of queries by the Chief Minister which are crucial to plan a strategy to control rising crime in the city particularly crime against women,” said Jain. He further informed that 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 teenage girl which was rejected by Kejriwal, this was mentioned by Bassi also in his press conference.

“Kejriwal asked Bassi to take the list to his boss Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bassi replied saying the PM is pre-occupied with other work and has no time for Delhi Police,” Jain told reporters noting that Delhi Police should be sensitive and that Bassi needed to 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 appreciation of nuances of law as 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.”
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