Delhi Gang Rape Case: Parliament panel quizzes police chief

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 14:50 hrs

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar appeared before Parlaiment's Standing Commitee on Home on Thursday, and was questioned over the December 16 gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, who is now admitted to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore in a critical state.

During his deposition, Police Commissioner Kumar pointed out deficiencies like vacancies at officer level and lack of vehicles to patrol the streets as reasons why there growing atrocities against women in Delhi.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh, who was also to appear before the panel, could not attend the meeting.

Kumar informed the panel about the sequence of events of the incident and said the police control room vans reacted "promptly" after receiving the phone call about the crime.

He is learnt to have told the committee that police investigations helped nab the accused within days of the December 16 gang-rape.

Congress member Sandeep Dikshit, who had recently demanded the resignation of Kumar in the wake of police action against protesters on Sunday, is understood to have said there was a disconnect between officers sitting in rooms and those on the ground.

He said that officials below Station House Officer rank act on their own, giving little regard to orders from superiors.

Standing Committee members pointed out lacunae such as timely replacement of police vehicles due non-release of funds from the Finance Ministry; Several vacancies of officers in the Delhi Police; Paucity of women constables in the force.

The committee will meet again on January 4 when Kumar will provide a written response to questions which could not be answered today.

Meanwhile, committee chairman M Venkaiah Naidu informed the members that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha during the Winter Session, would be referred to the panel soon.

The bill seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, by replacing the word 'rape' by the words 'sexual assault' to make the offence of sexual assault gender neutral and also widening its scope.

It also seeks to make acid attack a specific offence and enhance the punishment. (ANI with inputs)

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