The home ministry Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the circumstances in which the statement of the 23-year-old gang-rape victim was recorded the first time Dec 21 after allegations of police interference in the process.
The inquiry was ordered after Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit demanded a probe. Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has denied any interference by the police.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told mediapersons here that Home Minster Sushilkumar Shinde informed the cabinet meeting Wednesday that he had ordered an inquiry.
Dikshit had written to Shinde seeking a high-level independent inquiry into the "interference" by police officers when Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Vivek Vihar) Usha Chaturvedi had sought to record statement of the gang-rape victim.
In her note to Shinde, Dikshit had cited a letter sent to her by Deputy Commissioner (East) B.M. Mishra following Chaturvedi's complaint to him.
The Delhi government further exerted pressure on police Wednesday as its Chief Secretary P.K. Tripathi said the police commissioner was not an authority to take a decision on the conduct of the SDM.
He added that the issue should not be politicsed.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat took a dig at Dikshit and Neeraj Kumar over the controversy about the alleged interference in taking the victim's statement. She said their "fight" had led to the victim suffering injustice and having to record her statement again.
Karat targeted Dikshit and Kumar and said it was shameful that the victim had to repeat her statement.
"It is condemnable that the brave rape survivor, who is battling for life and is on and off a ventilator, should be forced to recall and record the statement not once but twice. It shows the callousness and insensitivity of individuals," Karat said.
Asked about alleged police interference during the gang-rape victim's statement to the SDM, Chidambaram said: "We don't know what the truth is. We have the word of the SDM as reported by the Delhi Chief Minister and the word of the police commissioner."
The finance minister added that the gang-rape victim's statement had been recorded a second time. "We are making sure that the recording is done strictly in accordance with the law," he said.
On the condition of the victim, Chidambaram said: "Unfortunately it is not something we can be cheerful about. Her condition oscillates between getting slightly better and worse. She is on a ventilator and we are very sad. We hope she recovers."
On the possibility of treating the victim abroad, Chidambaram said he did not feel she was in "any condition to be moved by air". He added the doctors would have to take a call on it.
Kumar, who had Tuesday denied allegations of interference in a press conference, said police had not insisted on a questionnaire. He also said that the SDM was briefed at her request.
He had said the statement of girl was recorded in view of her condition. He had also suggested that the SDM had run-ins with the police in the past.
The woman was brutally raped by six men in a moving bus Dec 16 in south Delhi. She is battling for her life in Safdarjung Hospital. All six accused have been arrested.
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