MHA gave nod for prison interview during UPA’s rule

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2015 11:53 IST

Permission to filmmaker Leslee Udwin for interviewing December 16 gang rape accused Mukesh Singh in Tihar was cleared by the Union home ministry way back in July 2013 when the UPA government was in power, sources said.

“As of now, it is clear that in July, 2013, during the UPA regime, a request came to the ministry of home affairs seeking permission to interview convicted rapist Mukesh Singh. It seems the home ministry allowed the recording of interview as well. Another correspondence that reached Tihar administration was in January or February 2014 wherein the documentary maker had informed that she has sold the rights of her film to BBC,” said an MHA official requesting anonymity.

The documentary stirred a controversy after Mukesh blamed the victim and said a “girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy” and that the victim should not “resist” when being raped.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh may make a suo moto statement in Parliament on Wednesday to shed light on the circumstances in which Mukesh was allowed to give an interview, sources said.

The minister spoke to Delhi’s director general of prison Alok Verma, asking him to submit all facts on the issue.
Joint secretaries in the ministry sat with Verma to seek clarity on the sequence of events. The ministry has ordered an internal inquiry to see if rules for such interactions were flouted by the ministry or Tihar officials, said sources.

Sources said Singh has taken strong exception to fact that an interview of the rapist was allowed to be recorded.

“Prima facie it seems the documentary maker didn’t properly respond to Tihar administration’s notice to show them the unedited version of the interview that was recorded over two days for 16 hours inside Tihar. It was a conditional permission wherein the documentary maker was to show the unedited and edited version of the footage before it was ready for broadcast,” another MHA official told HT.

The official said it was for this reason the ministry directed Delhi Police to take action as prima facie it appeared Udwin may have violated conditions put to her by the Tihar administration. The FIR has been registered against unknown persons. The rapist’s consent was also necessary, which it seems the filmmaker did take.

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