Home secy defends commissioner, lauds police

Union Home Secretary R K Singh on Friday defended Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar amid the brouhaha over a surge in sexual offences against women in the national capital, particularly the rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in a moving bus five days ago.

“The police have done a great work to crack a blind case of gang-rape. The incident has shaken us all. People want proper investigation and efficient prosecution. Those guilty must be brought to book. All of this is happening,” Singh said.

The brewing discontent over the government’s apathy towards public safety was also reflected in the press conference called by the North Block, with both Singh and Kumar badgered with questions on measures taken to curb the menace. 

“I looked at the response of the Police Control Room (PCR) and enquired when the van reached the spot. I was thinking whether they could have reached earlier and the probe was quick and efficient? Prima facie, I see that the response was satisfactory on both accounts,” he said in response to questions on whether the commissioner should resign.

“There is no reason for the Delhi Police to be defensive. They have investigated and caught five of the six culprits. If we think dispassionately, any case cracked in one or two days is brilliant work,” Singh said. He has been assigned by the Union home minister to head a committee on addressing safety issues in the capital.

An embattled Neeraj Kumar hinged on statistics.

He said 1,600 charted buses have been impounded and arrests were made in connection with the case. Kumar attributed the surge in instances of rape from 564 last year to 661 in 2012 to a spurt in population. The fact that more incidents have been reported this year implied that women are feeling empowered to come forward and report such cases, he added.

Singh said the police will ensure Delhi’s transformation into a city free of “gundagiri” and “dadagiri.” “Such abrasive actions will be handled swiftly and efficiently. In this case, there is sufficient evidence to prove that the right persons were caught.  We will expedite the process, request for a day-to-day trial and ask for maximum punishment, that is life imprisonment. With the evidence gathered so far - circumstantial, forensic and others - we are confident of convicting the accused.”

 Volleying questions on demand of death penalty for the perpetrators of such crimes, Singh said maximum punishment mandated by the law for such offences is life imprisonment.

“We will have to take a view as there are different opinions on capital punishment.”

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