“If my resigning prevents such depraved acts in society, I am ready to resign a thousand times,” said Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar on Monday, refusing to accede to the demands of political organisations to step down taking responsibility for the lapses on the part of the police in the handling of the brutal rape of the five-year-old girl at Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi.
Stating that an example would be made of the policemen who during the ongoing inquiry are found wanting in carrying out their duty, Mr. Kumar at a Press conference here said his resignation would not address the problem. “The problem is of mental depravity in society…of mental sickness,” he said.
The Police Commissioner said all efforts were made to identify the policeman and a man in plainclothes who had, according to the victim’s parents, allegedly offered them hush money of Rs.2,000, but their identities were yet to be established. “The victim’s father is presently too tied up in hospital. Whenever he finds time, we will seek his help in the identification of the policemen…as soon as they are identified, they will be suspended and a vigilance enquiry will be initiated,” said Mr. Kumar, adding that a departmental inquiry would then be initiated based on the vigilance inquiry report. The vigilance inquiry is expected to be concluded with 72 hours.
In the case of the suspended Assistant Commissioner of Police B. S. Ahlawat, who had slapped a young girl protesting at Swami Dayanand Hospital, the Police Commissioner said his case has been referred to the Delhi Government for a vigilance inquiry against him. When asked whether the police officer should have been booked for assaulting the girl, he said the offence was non-cognisance but the police would consider registering a case if the victim was prepared to lodge a complaint.
Reacting to the allegations of callousness on the part of the local police, Mr. Kumar said prima facie there were shortfalls on their part and, therefore, the area Station House Officer and the case Investigation Officer had been placed under suspension.
Denying that there was any inordinate delay in registration of the case after the victim’s mother lodged a complaint on April 15, the Police Commissioner said the “horrific” crime had been committed nonetheless.
Expressing satisfaction over the general police performance during his tenure so far, Mr. Kumar said since the Vasant Vihar gang-rape case on December 16 last year, there had been a dramatic improvement.
“Orders have been issued (to police stations) that every complaint by any woman shall be recorded verbatim irrespective of jurisdiction…we have seen a phenomenal increase in registration of cases of crimes against women post the gang-rape case,” he said.
According to police statistics, registration of rape cases has increased by 158.66 per cent, molestation by 600 per cent and eve-teasing by 783.67 per cent till April 15 this year compared to the corresponding period previous year. “It shows that the tendency of dissuading women complainants has changed dramatically post-December 16,” he said, adding that at the same time a high detection rate should also be appreciated.
Mr. Kumar said 85 per cent of the rape cases, 86 per cent of molestation and 95.8 per cent of eve-teasing had been solved.
Till April 15 this year, 463 incidents of rape were reported as against 179 during the period last year. “While 973 molestations were reported as against 139, 433 cases of eve-teasing were registered compared to 49 during the corresponding period in 2012.’’
The Police Commissioner said it was humanly impossible for the police to prevent such cases where crimes take place within the confines of four walls and in which mostly known persons are involved. “Rapes are opportunistic crimes…97 per cent of rapes are committed in houses. Only 3 per cent of rapes are committed by strangers,” he said.
Sharing statistics on the relationship of perpetrators with victims, Mr. Kumar said 178 of the rape accused were lovers or friends, 115 were neighbours, 15 employers, 12 relatives, 10 fathers and nine husbands and former husbands, nine brothers-in-law, five cousins, two fathers-in-law, eight landlords…and two were doctors.