Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party president Vijay Goel on Friday accused Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of not being serious about the issue of women’s safety and alleged that while on the one hand she inaugurated measures for women’s empowerment on International Women’s Day, on the other she had herself demanded parole for two rape convicts.
Ms. Dikshit, however, contended that the decisions were taken by a committee of the Delhi Police, Delhi Prisons, Home Department and court officials and she had only chaired it and forwarded the cases based on their recommendations. “Where have I gone wrong? Taking a parole is the right of every prisoner. Once the Lieutenant-Governor rejected the cases, we had not pursued them. Moreover, all this happened before December 16 last,” she said.
Mr. Goel, while distributing copies of documents purportedly showing Ms. Dikshit’s seeking parole for the convicts, said: “I got the documents four days ago but was unable to believe that Sheila Dikshit herself being a woman would seek parole for rape convicts.’’
One of these cases, he said, pertained to Dulichand, son of Kali Charan, who is undergoing life imprisonment in a rape case under sections of rape; kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person; and kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage.
A note, signed by Ranjan Mukherjee, OSD to Lieutenant- Governor, dated December 11, 2012, which Mr. Goel circulated, noted that the man had undergone a sentence for 13 years and one month. He was a resident of Uttar Pradesh, who was a rickshaw-puller in Delhi when he had committed the crime.
“The district police has objected to grant of parole and stated that any untoward incident can occur if the convict is released. Though Principal Secretary (Home) and Chief Minister have recommended parole for one month, it may not be sustainable as per the police report and hence not recommended,’’ said the letter signed by Mr. Mukherjee.
Similarly, the other note, signed by OSD (Public Grievance) Shantonu Sen, and dated November 2012, stated that “convict Harpreet Singh, who is undergoing life sentence’’ for kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, and voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery/ rape had undergone a sentence for nine years.
It mentioned that the convict “has not been on parole yet. The police have opposed parole believing that he may jump parole. The victim is not residing in the vicinity of the area’’.
Further, the note said, Principal Secretary (Home) and the Chief Minister have recommended parole for one month as he has not availed of parole yet. It urged that the L-G may grant the prayer seeking parole.
Mr. Goel said in this case the person had abducted the woman and after robbing and beating her, had raped her too.
Stating that it was good that the Lieutenant-Governor had turned down both the requests, he said it was also unfortunate that similarly the Chief Minister had earlier sought parole for Jessica Lal murder case accused Manu Sharma.
The BJP leader said since the horrific December 16 gang-rape case, as many as 48 rape cases have been registered in the Capital, clearly showing that it remains hugely unsafe for women.
He therefore demanded that “no leniency should be shown to rape convicts under any circumstances; cases should be heard in front of the magistrate only and statements should be recorded in front of him so that victims do not have to face any humiliation in police stations or court rooms. Further, time frames should be set for dealing with such cases.’’