Woman cop suspended

NEW DELHI, FEB. 26. The Delhi police head constable who was arrested on the charge of torturing her 12-year-old domestic help was today placed under suspension and a regular department inquiry ordered against her. The accused is out on bail.

It is learnt that the order placing Head Constable Rekha Kaul under suspension was issued by the police headquarters this evening. Meanwhile, the Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi Range), Maxwell Pereira, today submitted a preliminary report on the incident to the Police chief, K.K. Paul.

The report stated that there was no evidence so far corroborating the claims that the victim had been forced to enter into physical relations by the accused. The report also justified the use of the Juvenile Justice Act in the matter. Mr. Pereira said the victim, in the presence of Salam Balak Trust officials who had brought the incident to light, "categorically" denied having been coerced by Rekha into entering into any physical relationship.

He said the nature of injuries - abrasions on both right and left arms, on the right thigh, and swelling and tenderness on the left leg below knee - reflected in the medical report also did not indicate such assault.

Defending the New Delhi police's decision to register the case under the Juvenile Justice Act, Mr. Pereira said the Act -- meant especially for such cases of child labour and torture -- was implemented as per the content of the First Information Report (FIR) and to enhance the effectiveness of the case. The police have registered the case under Sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

But the Juvenile Justice Board, before which the accused was produced on Wednesday, observed that there was no evidence with the police to justify charges made under Section 26 (which is non-bailable) and hence it granted bail to the accused.

"In case we come across any evidence, during the probe, attracting specific Indian Penal Code provisions, we would certainly include them," said Mr. Pereira.

He said the case has now been handed over to a woman inspector of the Crime Against Women (CAW) Cell, who would investigate the matter along with a Juvenile Welfare Officer.

Further Mr. Pereira said: "As part of the report, we would pose specific questions to doctors about the nature of the victim's injuries considering the allegations that she was being forced to making physical relation. We would interact with the victim with the help of NGOs to get to the truth and would also question people alleged to be involved in this regard."