Home ministry probing Dikshit's complaint against police
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has ordered an inquiry into the spat between Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Police over the recording of the gang rape victim's statement, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday.
"I don't know what the truth is... The home minister told the cabinet that he has ordered an internal inquiry into the chief minister's complaint," Chidambaram told reporters.
Dikshit told Shinde on Tuesday that the police interfered with the recording of the statement of the rape victim by a woman sub divisional magistrate.
Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar has denied the charge. The woman's statement was recorded again by the magistrate.
"I hope the second recording is in accordance with law," Chidambaram said.
Neeraj Kumar writes to Home Ministry refuting Dikshit's charges
Under attack from Dikshit, Neeraj on Wednesday wrote to the Home Ministry rebutting charges that police had interfered when a magistrate was recording the statement of Delhi gangrape victim.
In his letter, Kumar refuted the allegation that police had forced a questionnaire on the Sub Divisional Magistrate who recorded the statement of the rape victim and had refused its videography.
The Police Commissioner said it was police which had insisted that the statement of the girl be recorded as her condition was getting worse with every passing day.
Kumar also said investigation was the job of the police and it was doing its best to get justice to the victim.
Earlier, Dikshit shot off a letter to Shinde citing a communication to her by Deputy Commissioner (East) B M Mishra that SDM Usha Chaturvedi had complained that senior police officials interfered while she was recording the statement of the victim.
"The Home Ministry has received Delhi Chief Minister's complaint letter as well as a letter from the Police Commissioner refuting the charges. The Ministry has taken note of the two letters and decided to take immediate appropriate action," an official from the Home Ministry said, just as the probe was ordered.
Chaturvedi, the SDM of Vivek Vihar, has alleged that police tried to intimidate her and interfere with the process of recording the victim's statement. Following this, the Delhi chief minister asked the home ministry to conduct an inquiry into the allegations.
Centre rules out giving control of police to Delhi govt
The Centre on Wednesday ruled out giving control of the city police to the Delhi government for now, saying the responsibility of law and order in the capital should remain with the central government.
"Successive governments have maintained that the responsibility for law and order in the capital city should remain with the central government. That is the practice in most capitals (across the world)," Chidambaram told reporters here after a meeting of the Union Cabinet.
He was replying to questions on comments by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on the issue of control of the Delhi Police, which functions under the Union Home Ministry.
At the same time, he said this was not the time to debate positions.
"Let us restore normalcy in Delhi. These issues can be flagged for debate," he said.
Chidambaram said the issue of control over the Delhi Police was also debated during his tenure as the Union Home Minister.
"I felt that this (current) arrangement is an appropriate arrangement," he said.
Chidambaram said some changes were carried out during his tenure by way of involving the Lieutenant Governor a "little more" and by consulting the Chief Minister "more often".
"But, if further changes are required, we can look into that. This is not the time to debate these matters," the Finance Minister said.
Turf war between Dikshit, Kumar 'shameful': Brinda
CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat on Wednesday termed the "turf war" between Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar as "shameful and condemnable" and asked the union government to take appropriate action against them.
"It is shameful and condemnable that the CM of Delhi and the Police Commissioner should fight a turf war at the bedside of a critically rape survivor," Karat said.
She said that because of the "utter callousness" of these individuals, the young woman had recorded her statement not once, not twice but three times, forcing her to recall repeatedly the brutal violence she was subjected to.
"Who will take the responsibility for the impact it may have on her fragile health. The central government should take appropriate action," Karat said.
Congress distances itself from 'sack Neeraj' demand
The Congress on Wednesday distanced itself from demands for the removal of Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar in the wake of the brutal gang rape of a girl and the handling of the agitations over it.
"Chief Minister is completely different from the party. CM is CM and what Sandeep Dikshit (Congress MP) had said he had said in his capacity as MP.
"If it is party's statement, we will say say it from here (AICC podium)," Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhry told reporters when asked about the reported stance of the chief minister and her son for Kumar's removal.
At this point of time, she said, the party does not not have a stand (on the removal). An inquiry was going on and till that time it was completed, "we can't take any such stand," she said.
Chowdhry said she did not not see why suspending someone was an answer. The criminals were recorded in record time and a lot of restraint was shown by the Delhi police till some lumpen elements created a problem, she said in apparent defence of the police.
"If change of the police commissioner could make a difference then change, fine. But when the issue is so hot, I don't think removing someone is the answer. Transfer, posting and suspension can take place later also," the spokesperson said.