Dikshit, Delhi police spar over gang rape victim's statement
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has sought a “high-level independent enquiry” against senior police officials for allegedly interfering when the gang rape victim’s statement was recorded. The Delhi Police quickly denied the allegation.
The chief minister made the appeal to Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, to whose ministry Delhi Police reports. In her letter, Dikshit cited a complaint from Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Usha Chaturvedi, who had recorded the young woman’s statement at the Safdarjung Hospital.
Chaturvedi’s complaint was forwarded to Dikshit by Deputy Commissioner (East) BM Mishra. Without taking names, Mishra said Chaturvedi faced “interference” from assistant commissioners of police of the Defence Colony and Vasant Vihar police stations and deputy commissioners of South Delhi while recording the rape victim’s statement. According to informed sources, Chaturvedi alleged that the officers tried to put pressure on her to record the statement as per their wish.
Police also allegedly put pressure on her not to video record the statement of the 23-year-old woman, whose gang rape in a moving bus has triggered widespread criticism of Delhi Police. Dikshit told the home minister, “I suggest a high-level independent enquiry considering the officers involved.” Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said, “First, we want to ask how a top secret letter reached the media. There should be a probe where it was leaked from.
“There was no advice or pressure from our side (to the magistrate). The SDM herself recorded the statement and any kind of allegation is totally wrong,” he said. He said none of the officers were present when the statement was recorded. “The family gave in writing that they don’t want videography. When the statement was recorded, the officers, against whom allegations have been levelled, were not present,” he said.
Victim critical but improving: Docs
Battling for survival for over a week, the 23-year-old gang-rape victim continues to be critical and remains on ventilator support but is responding to treatment, doctors said. “Her condition is still critical. She is on partial ventilator support, but better compared to yesterday (Monday) as her internal bleeding has significantly reduced,” said PK Verma, ICU in-charge at the Safdarjung Hospital.
According to doctors, her blood platelet count has increased to 81,000 from Monday’s 70,000. “We are pumping in lots of platelets... the real improvement will be when the body starts recovering on its own,” Verma said. He added that her haemoglobin levels are up. Doctors also said she was subjected to psychiatric counselling yesterday. “The girl is psychologically stable, and her fighting spirit is still on. She is hopeful of a good future and needs emotional strength,”
R Rastogi, the psychiatrist said, adding that counselling was also being given to the girl’s parents.