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Rift widens between Delhi Police and AAP govt

Kejriwal-Bassi

The face-off between Delhi Police and AAP government intensified on Monday with both sides hardening their positions following a meeting between city’s top police officer B S Bassi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held in the backdrop of the murder of a 19-year-old girl.

After the over one-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said the police was treating the case “lightly” and termed its stand “objectionable” while accusing Bassi of stonewalling a number of queries by Kejriwal.

Jain, who was present in the meeting, said Bassi gave a list of 500 similar cases urging the government to offer Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to families of the victims like it did in the case of the teenaged girl which was rejected by Kejriwal.

“Kejriwal asked Bassi to take the list to his boss Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bassi replied saying the PM is too much pre-occupied with other works and has no time for Delhi Police,” Jain told reporters noting that Delhi Police should be sensitive and that Bassi must answer the Chief Minister’s queries.

Attacking Delhi Police, Jain accused it of politicising the probe into the girl’s murder and said the police was ignoring the common people of Delhi. He said the Chief Minister has jurisdiction to question the police.

Bassi rejected Jain’s contention, saying the police takes any incident of crime as a challenge and that there was a lack of “appreciations of nuances of law”.

“In this case there was no need for remand of accused. That would have been improper. I tried to explain in what circumstances remand is sought,” the Police Commissioner said on Jain questioning police on its decision not seek remand of the accused.

He said, “We owe duty to rule of law. It’ll be unfortunate if police succumbs to public pressure” adding “certain expectations” could not be met as they were beyond jurisdiction of law.

Bassi said Delhi Police is “robustly independent” and that there is no political pressure on it because those in-charge of administrative control of police “have no local vested interests”.

“Delhi Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs have local expectations. For that reason there is a possibility of their judgement getting coloured whereas Union ministers have no local vested interests letting us to work independently,” he said.

Downplaying arguments in the meeting, Bassi called the deliberations with Kejriwal “cordial and positive” where he tried to present the police’s version on range of issues including its role in the society.

“Our communication (with the AAP government), which was very good earlier, would become even better,” he said after meeting Kejriwal.

PTI