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Sheila, cops locked in spat

New Delhi, Dec 25, 2012 , DHNS

National mess: Police refute interference

Sheila Dikshit File Photo
The Delhi Police have denied allegations that three senior police officers tried to influence Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Usha Chaturvedi assigned to record the statement of a 23-year-old physiotherapist whose rape has triggered a nationwide outcry.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and demanded an investigation into the allegations. Meanwhile, a fresh statement of the victim, undergoing treatment at Safdgarjung Hospital here, was recorded in the presence of the metropolitan magistrate on Tuesday.

Refuting the allegations, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said Chaturvedi should have refused to record the victim’s statement if she was perturbed by police interference.
“We came to know on Monday that SDM Usha Chaturvedi had problems while recording the statement and she had reported it to the deputy commissioner (revenue). If she had problems, she should not have recorded it,” said Kumar at a press conference.

With the UPA government riddled with various issues, including trust deficit, the Home Ministry has taken the complaint “very seriously.” Sources said the ministry will seek a report from the Delhi Police on the complaint, before taking a final call on referring the matter to a committee headed by a retired woman judge or launch an independent investigation.

In her complaint to Deputy Commissioner (East district) B M Mishra, Chauturvedi, without taking names, said DCP (South), ACP (Defence Colony) and ACP (Vasant Vihar) tried to pressure her into recording the victim’s statement according to their convenience. They allegedly misbehaved after Chaturvedi declined to comply.

“According to an order of December 21, 2012, when I went to the Safdarjung Hospital to record the statement of the rape victim, DCP (South), ACP (Vasant Vihar) and ACP (Defence Colony) were present, along with a huge entourage of police personnel. These officers showed me a copy of questionnaire which was prepared by them and asked me to record them as facts in the presence of the IO (investigating officer),’’ Chaturvedi said in the complaint.

She also alleged that the briefing from the police was vastly different from the actual turn of events on the fateful night of December 16 when the girl was raped, as was discovered by her later while recording the victim’s statement. Chaturvedi further claimed that she wanted to make a video recording of the statement but was refused by the victim’s mother who, she felt, was “probably influenced by the police.”

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have demanded an investigation into how Dikshit’s letter to Shinde found its way to the media.

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