The offence caused damage to the CBI’s image is irreparable, says former CBI Director

Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha on Wednesday expressed regret over hurt, if any, caused by his statement, which has triggered sharp reactions from womens’ rights groups, the National Commission for Woman (NCW) has sought an explanation from him on the “rape” remark within 24 hours failing which, it asked for his resignation.

Former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan too joined in the demand for Mr. Sinha’s resignation. “I cannot defend the indefensible. Whatever be the context, he should not have made the statement regarding the violation of women,” he said, adding, “possibly the offence caused is beyond words and the damage to the CBI’s image is irreparable. He is a fine officer. Nevertheless he has to go. Nothing else will assuage the wounded feelings of the community at large, especially women. The episode reiterates the need for gender sensitivity right from training days.”

‘Mere regret not enough’

Earlier in the day, NCW member Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar said: “How can he make such an insensitive and irresponsible statement? He heads a premier agency that investigates a range of cases pertaining to violence against women. Considering the sensitivity of the matter, we have sought an explanation from him. Barely expressing regret cannot absolve him. We will recommend to the government to seek his resignation.”

Shobha Oza, who heads the women’s wing of the Congress said: “The All India Mahila Congress strongly condemns the appalling remarks of the CBI Director. It is unfortunate that a person of his stature and standing, who has chaired several investigations on rape, can be so insensitive to women’s issues and concerns.”

Ms. Oza also said that expressing regret alone was not enough. Mr. Sinha must apologise to the women of this country or quit.

However, the Congress was not as harsh when its views were sought: party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “The CBI’s Director’s remarks on rape are regrettable. As far as I know, he has apologised. I have nothing further to say.”

‘Inadvertent and ininteded’

For his part, the CBI Director on Wednesday said: “I regret any hurt caused as the same [statement] was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Sinha issued a statement stating: “It was made in the context of a voice vote taken by Mr. Shekhar Gupta, editor and writer, on legalising betting in sports. After the opinion of R. N. Savani and Rahul Dravid, I gave my opinion that betting should be legalised and that if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean that laws should not be made. This is as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable one should lie back and enjoy it. Laws should be strictly enforced and absence of enforcement or lack of will for enforcement does not mean that laws should not be made. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and my commitment for gender issues.”

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