Police commissioner hits back

Rejects allegations, says no pressure at any point on magistrate

Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar on Tuesday refuted allegations that his officers put pressure on a sub-divisional magistrate while the gang rape victim's was being recorded.

“There was no pressure by any police official at any point of time on the sub-divisional magistrate. It was surprising to hear that,” said Kumar.

He rejected the allegation that police told sub-divisional magistrate Usha Chaturvedi to ask the victim of the December 16 gang rape questions only from the questionnaire the investigators had prepared. The police chief said no officer forced any questionnaire on the SDM.

“It was the police that insisted the girl’s statement be recorded as her condition was getting worse every passing day,” said Kumar.

Police came to know on Monday night that the SDM had problems while recording the statement, and she reported that to the senior deputy commissioner (revenue), who then approached chief minister Shelia Dikshit.

Dikshit complained about it to Union  home minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
Neeraj Kumar was addressing reporters immediately after returning from the cremation of constable Subhash Chand Tomar, who succumbed to injuries suffered during last Sunday's clash with protesters.

Kumar said police had approached deputy commissioner (revenue) Nila Mohanan, asking her to send a sub-divisional magistrate to record the victim’s statement.

She said there were no woman sub-divisional magistrates currently under her.
Police then contacted divisional commissioner Dharam Pal, who asked them to get in touch with SDM Usha Chaturvedi.

“At first she said she was busy, but later said she will come outside police headquarters at 5 pm,” a senior official said.

Vasant Vihar assistant commissioner of police Ramesh Chand escorted her to Vasant Vihar police station, where she was briefed about the incident,” the officer said.

From there, they left for the hospital where Defence Colony assistant commissioner of police Benita Mary Jaiker was waiting for them.

The SDM first wanted to videograph the victim’s statement. But the family objected and police officials also said there was no need for that.

“She took the statement of the victim in the intensive care unit all alone and no police official was present at that time. If the situation was not suitable for recording the statement she should not have recorded it,” said Kumar.  
He said the SDM made no complaint to them.

Sudden news

“Then all of a sudden, we were told a complaint was filed and a copy of the complaint was given to the media. It's very sad because it can affect the investigation,” he said.
A senior police official alleged that Chaturvedi and her senior deputy commissioner (revenue) B M Mishra also created problems during two earlier incidents, hampering investigations.

But police cooperated with them every time.

Victim gives statement

Amid controversy over the recording of the gang rape victim’s statement before the sub-divisional magistrate, her fresh testimony was documented on Tuesday before a metropolitan magistrate to prevent any lapse in the investigation, reports DHNS.

The victim gave a fresh statement before a metropolitan magistrate under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a senior police officer said.

When asked about the need for fresh statement, the officer said the statement recorded before an SDM is considered as evidence but if it is made before a judicial magistrate it holds more value in court. Police, however, refused to divulge details of the victim’s statement.

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