Internal probe into police role in rape victim's account

Statement of victim recorded again in conformity with law

The Union Home Ministry has initiated an internal inquiry into allegations of police interference in the recording by a Delhi sub-divisional magistrate of the statement of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim.

Amid the controversy over the police asking the victim, still battling for her life, to sign on a questionnaire and not record her statement, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram disclosed details of the inquiry here on Wednesday.

The finance minister said: “The home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) told the Cabinet that he has ordered an internal inquiry as to what happened when the recording took place. Let us give a few days so that the inquiry is completed and we know where truth lies. The statement of the victim has been recorded again and we are making sure that the recording is strictly done in conformity with law.”

Shortly after the Cabinet meeting, the Congress opted to distance itself from the issue, which was first raised by Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit as she met Shinde and sought an inquiry. This was contested by Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar. The chief minister and her son and MP Sandip Dikshit have demanded Kumar’s resignation. Kumar has refused to oblige them. Earlier, Chidambaram had said the girl could not be taken abroad for treatment as she was not fit to fly.

“This is a call which the doctors should take,” he added. The minister said one could not be cheerful about the girl’s condition. It oscillated between getting slightly better and worse.

“She is on a ventilator and we are very sad. We hope she will recover,” he said.
Asked why the police, and not an independent agency, were investigating the death of a police constable during the mass demonstration, Chidambaram said: “The matter is under investigation. I am not aware of the post-mortem report, it was not shared with us. My appeal to everyone is, a person has died in a situation where a serious criminal offence is registered. We need to exercise restraint.”

On the demand for the police commissioner’s resignation, Chidamabram said: “We don't know what the truth is. We have the word of the SDM as reported by the Delhi chief minister and the word of the police commissioner.”

Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury, faced with questions on the demand by the Dikshits, said the chief minister is completely different from the party. The CM is CM and what Sandip Dikshit (Congress MP) had said he had said in his capacity as an MP. If it is the party's statement, we will say it from here (AICC podium).”

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