While Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe declared in the State Legislative Council on Tuesday that the Pune Police Commissioner would be transferred, Home Minister R.R. Patil seems disinclined to take such a step.
Mr. Bagwe was responding to a discussion in the Council initiated in the wake of a series of crimes in the city, including the recent gang rape in Beed district of a Pune resident who was returning from a pilgrimage to Parli with her family. The Opposition went on the offensive on the issue of crimes against women and demanded the transfer of Mr. Singh. Mr. Bagwe said that he would be transferred and someone more capable would be installed in his place.
However, Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil is reported to be unhappy with this statement, though he did not say anything on record. Mr. Singh is due for a transfer in a few months in any case. His tenure has not been exactly spectacular. Little progress has been made in the probe into the German Bakery blast that took place on February 13. Though Mr. Singh consistently maintained that the probe was on the right track and there would be a breakthrough soon, that has not happened.
“I have not yet received any official intimation about a transfer,” Mr. Singh told TheHindu. Asked if his transfer was linked to the German Bakery blast investigation, he said, “I work in accordance with the law and in public interest."
There has been a spate of crimes in the city over the last month or so, delivering a body blow to Pune's reputation of being a ‘safe city.' On the noon of April 17, an unknown assailant broke into a bungalow in Karve Nagar and slit the throats of two women. A mobile phone and gold jewellery were found missing from the house.
On April 7, two Army jawans raped a 19-year-old girl close to the military area after beating up her male friend.
On April 1, a 25-year-old married woman from Nagpur was gang-raped by three men for eight hours in a car. She was kidnapped from a place close to the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology (IT) Park on the outskirts of Pune. The gang-rape was only the latest in a series of offences against women working in the IT sector in Pune.
Making a statement in the Assembly, Mr. Patil said that the government would appoint a committee headed by retired justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari to examine if any changes in the law were required with reference to the crimes against women. He referred to the poor conviction rate in cases of rape and said that the norms for handling these cases needed to be improved.
In the Beed case, the victim was reluctant to file a complaint. Investigations and recording of statement should be conducted with more sensitivity, Mr. Patil pointed out. He said rape cases should be fast tracked and completed within six months and more courts could be assigned for such cases.
The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) would be invoked against the four men arrested for robbing and gang rape in the Beed case.