After the blame game, an open war has broken out between Chief Minister (CM) Sheila Dikshit, who complained of “interference” by police officers in the recording of gang-rape survivor's statement, and the Delhi police which on Tuesday demanded a probe into the “leakage” of her letter to the Home Minister.
Dikshit, who has been making a strong pitch of bringing the city police under Delhi government from Home Ministry's control, shot off a letter to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde seeking a high-level inquiry into the complaint of sub-divisional magistrate (SDM).
In the complaint, sources said, SDM Usha Chaturvedi claimed that three senior police officers had prevented the video recording of the victim's statement. It was also alleged that the police officers wanted the SDM to use a questionnaire they prepared.
When she refused to do so, sources said, the police officers misbehaved with the SDM.
The Delhi police came out with a strong denial and also demanded a high-level probe into the “leakage” of Dikshit's letter to the home minister. “We deny the allegations levelled by SDM Usha Chaturvedi. The Delhi police demands a high-level inquiry into the leakage of a top-secret letter written by the chief minister to media,” Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.
Ever since the public outrage over the December 16 gang-rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus in south Delhi, the chief minister has made it clear that she cannot be held responsible for actions of the police which is not under her government's control.
The police has made known its unhappiness over Dikshit passing on the buck and raking up a “non-issue” at this juncture by writing to Shinde.
In her letter, Dikshit cited a communication to her by Deputy Commissioner (East) BM Mishra that Chaturvedi had complained about senior police officials' “interference” while she was recording the statement of the victim.
The chief minister was “very upset” over the contents of the letter sent by the deputy commissioner and decided to write to Shinde seeking a thorough probe into the incident, Delhi government sources said.
Home Ministry sources said they are likely to order a probe into the CM's complaint. “We are taking the complaint very seriously,” a senior Ministry official said.
Elaborating on the police's stand, Bhagat said the assistant commissioner of police (Vasant Vihar) had written to the divisional commissioner seeking the services of an SDM for recording the statement of the victim and Chaturvedi was assigned the job.
Doctors treating the victim at Safdarjung Hospital informed the SDM that she was fit for statement, he said.
“When the SDM arrived there and the camera man was going inside, the victim's family objected to the presence of the videography team thinking that they were from media. They were then told about the procedure, but the family then in writing said that they would not like videographing the statement recording process,” Bhagat said.
As the family objected, he said, doctors did not allow the video team to record the proceedings.
He also said none of the police officers were present in the room when the SDM recorded the victim's statement and that the victim herself signed all the papers in this regard. "There was no interference from Delhi police's part,” he said.