Sultanpuri girl death incident turns political as AAP seeks L-G’s removal over ‘mishandling’

CM Kejriwal writes to L-G as AAP claims one accused is linked to BJP

January 03, 2023 02:33 am | Updated 02:33 am IST - New Delhi

AAP chief spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj. File photo

AAP chief spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj. File photo | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

A day after the gruesome death of a 20-year-old girl allegedly after she was hit by a car and then dragged for several kilometres, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday spoke to Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and asked him to ensure strict action against culprits even as protests against the L-G and Delhi Police erupted in various parts of the city.

Mr. Kejriwal tweeted, “Spoke to Hon’ble LG on Kanjhawala incident. Requested him to take exemplary action against culprits, strictest sections of IPC should be slapped against them. No leniency should be showed even if they have high political connections. He assured that he will take strong action.”

The victim was allegedly mowed down by a car in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri area after which her body was dragged along with the car for about 12 km and was found in Rohini’s Kanjhawala area. The girl, who worked with an event-planning company, was returning from a late-night function when the accident took place. The police have arrested five men who were in the car and a case has been registered under IPC sections 279, 304-A, 304, and 34.

Officials at the L-G House said that the L-G took stock of the progress in the case at a meeting with Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora in the morning.

“He reiterated his direction that every angle and aspect of the case be looked into and the strictest possible sections/provisions of IPC be invoked against the accused,” an official said.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched scathing attacks on the L-G and the police throughout the day.

Party chief spokesperson and MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj, at a press conference, said that Mr. Saxena has turned the Delhi Police into a “toothless elephant” and demanded his removal from the post of L-G.

Mr. Bharadwaj claimed that one of the accused in the case, Manoj Mittal, was a local BJP leader and accused the police of trying to protect him. He also alleged that the police was “pressurising two eyewitnesses to change their testimony to save BJP leaders”.

The AAP leader also said that there was a possibility of rape or an attempt to rape and asked the police to investigate it. “How is it that the body of the victim was found without any clothes?” he asked and accused Outer district DCP Harendra Kumar Singh of “threatening journalists of police action if they mentioned rape in reports”.

Alleging that the police were trying to cover up the incident, he said, “A body was under the wheel for 12 km and the DCP says that the music in the car was so loud that the accused didn’t realise that the body was under its wheel. It is shameful to see the DCP use the statements of the accused to narrate the sequence of events.”

Several AAP workers led by senior party leaders, including MLAs Atishi and Durgesh Pathak, also protested outside the L-G House demanding his resignation over “poor handling” of the case.

Ms. Atishi said, “[The] L-G’s primary job is to provide security to the women of Delhi, but I’m sure he can’t list a single step he has taken to ensure that in the last one year.”

Sources at the L-G House said that Mr. Saxena has instructed the police to ensure that the accused are punished as per law, irrespective of their socio-economic standing or political affiliations.

A source in the Delhi BJP confirmed that one accused was linked to the party. “As per my information, he is a local party worker,” the leader said, adding that the BJP was “in no way” defending him.

Demanding that the trial be conducted in a fast-track court, Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva said that the AAP is taking an “insensitive approach” in the matter. He also slammed some AAP leaders for “sharing the victim’s photo on social media”.

Party spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor also wrote to the L-G and demanded that IPC sections of murder and criminal conspiracy should also be added against the accused.

Delhi Congress chief Ch. Anil Kumar also sought a high-level probe into the incident and also demanded compensation of ₹1 crore for the victim’s family from the Delhi government. “Despite law and order becoming dangerous to the lives of the people, Mr. Kejriwal has not bothered to personally take up the issue with neither the Home Minister nor the Prime Minister, but only depends on Twitter to make his statements,” he said, adding, “the Modi government did not take proper steps to control such crimes on New Year.”

The National Commission for Women (NCW) also took cognisance of the incident and sought an action taken report as well as a medical report from the police in the matter. NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma, in a letter, asked the Police Commissioner to conduct a fair and time-bound investigation in the matter.

On the other hand, Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal also asked the police to clarify some details related to the incident, including the possibility of sexual assault, number of police control room (PCR) vans present on the route of the car, and security arrangements put in place for New Year celebrations.

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