Navi Mumbai top cop defends his colleague who 'molested 17-year-old'

Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 07:27 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

Six months after family lodged complaint, and days after DIG is accused of stalking 17-yr-old, commissioner says there is no evidence to file FIR, while law says: FIR first, probe later.

A screengrab shows the survivor's father holding on to a constable driving DIG More in a police car on the day of the alleged stalking in Kharghar
A screengrab shows the survivor's father holding on to a constable driving DIG More in a police car on the day of the alleged stalking in Kharghar

The Navi Mumbai police seem to be hell-bent on guarding one of their own in a case of molestation. Six months after a 17-year-old's alleged molestation — caught on video — on her birthday, Navi Mumbai police are pursuing a property dispute between Deputy Inspector General (DIG) (Motor Transport, Pune) Nishikant More and the survivor's father.

Despite the girl's father submitting a complaint, cops steadfastly refuse to file an FIR. In the June 5 incident that took place at the survivor's residence in Taloja, Navi Mumbai this year, More scooped off cake from the 17-year-old's face and chest using his finger and licked it. The incident happened in front of both, the girl and More's family and was shot on a phone camera.

Sanjay Kumar
Sanjay Kumar

Navi Mumbai's Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar, said, "At this stage, we don't see enough evidence to register an FIR under POCSO Act. Further enquiries are underway, including the property dispute between the victim's and the DIG. A report has been submitted to the DGP," Kumar said. According to Kumar, after a preliminary probe, other material has surfaced which they wish to investigate first. However, in all cases of atrocities against women, police are bound to first register an FIR and then proceed with
the investigation.

"We have collected all materials including the videos and photographs shared by a third party. Both families are seen having a good time together both, before and after, the incident. We also have some social media pictures posted by the family right after the incident," said Kumar. More and the survivor's father co-own a plot on Goa highway which has both their wives as the owners. The two families have built a bungalow on the plot. According to sources, a police team has visited the property.

DIG Nishikant More
DIG Nishikant More

Justifying the six-month delay in registering an FIR, Kumar said, "The complaint given to us initially was about a property dispute. The complainant only mentioned that his daughter was touched inappropriately at his residence while they were celebrating her birthday. They did not reach out to us with a molestation complaint. As there is video evidence from both parties, we can't register an FIR by looking at just one video."

"We would have registered an FIR if the complainant had reached out to us explaining the incident from the birthday party," the commissioner added. Talking to mid-day, the victim's father said, "I have never denied the property dispute and I have mentioned it in the complaint. I am not as clever as police officers otherwise I would have filed the molestation case first. Whenever I see the video I just can't sleep."

The survivor's family held a press conference on Monday along with community leaders at Kharghar Gurudwara, demanding justice from Navi Mumbai police. "The same police have registered a case of assault and molestation against me but they are not registering my case despite video evidence. Is it even imaginable that someone manages to go to the DIGs house and manages to assault his wife?" the survivor's father said.

Following mid-day's report on the family's stalking complaint against the DIG, they met Kumar on Monday evening. "We have been told by the commissioner that we are planting cases against the officer due to the property dispute. He said all those things in front of my minor daughter who fainted in his chamber. She had to be rushed to MGM hospital. I don't know what police are trying to do with us," the father told mid-day. Kumar, on the other hand, said that the CCTV evidence in the stalking case contradicts the complaint submitted. He refuted telling the family that they are planting cases against More.

'Police must file FIR first'
"It is mandatory under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act that the police first file an FIR in a complaint of inappropriate touch amounting to aggravated sexual assault on a child/minor, which is defined under the Act. This is without penetration and includes a person who may be a relative of the survivor. The Act was drafted with this specific intent as these acts traumatise the child. In case of an offence allegedly committed by a police officer, the Act prescribes a higher punishment," said senior lawyer Sujay Kantawala.

June 5, 2019
Day the incident took place

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