Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday attacked the police for what he called negligence in two separate crime-related complaints raised by Aam Aadmi Party ministers Rakhi Birla and Somnath Bharti.
“The police should be accountable for their actions. Bharti pointed out that there was an active drug and sex racket in a south Delhi area. Birla demanded action in an incident where a girl was set on fire by her in-laws. The ministers did not get any support from the police,” the CM said at a press conference in New Delhi.
Delhi law minister Bharti had late on Wednesday alleged that a drug and prostitution ring was flourishing in south Delhi area of Khirki Extension after he attempted to carry out a raid in the locality. Birla, meanwhile, had complained to the police that a Delhi woman was being harassed by her in-laws and was later set afire.
Kejriwal asked the police to suspend four of their officers for allegedly refusing to act promptly in these cases. “Delhi Police is highly compromised,” Kejriwal told the media, using unusually harsh language.
A file photo of Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti. (Agencies)
The Delhi CM demanded the suspension of the station house officers (SHO) of the Sagarpur and Malviya Nagar police stations and two assistant commissioners of police. The Sagarpur SHO, he said, did not arrest members of a family who allegedly set their daughter-in-law on fire. Kejriwal accused the SHO of Malviya Nagar of complicity with a bunch of foreigners in south Delhi allegedly involved in prostitution and drugs.
The Delhi CM also said he had scheduled a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Delhi police commissioner for Friday morning to bring up the issue of negligence.
Flanked by Bharti and Birla at the press conference, Kejriwal defended their actions and said the ministers were only trying to do their job.
“We warn the Delhi Police to mend their ways. The ministers did not interfere in their functioning. The incident only shows that the police are only shying away from their duty.”
“Delhi has security not because of Delhi Police but despite Delhi Police," he said, demanding to know why there were so many incidents of rape in the national capital compared to other parts of India. “Rapes occur because issues such as the ones raised by our ministers are ignored,” he said.
His stance was a far cry from the days of the December 16 gang rape, when the Aam Aadmi Party had held the Sheila Dikshit government accountable, and prompted a dig from the Congress. “Is this the same party that used to protest on the streets? Is Kejriwal the same person who once targeted former chief minister Sheila Dikshit for ‘coming up with an excuse for every issue’,” asked Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh.
“I am yet to seek information about these (episodes) and will be in a position to comment only when I have done so,” police chief BS Bassi told HT. “Let me assure everyone that we are doing the best we can despite resource constraints.”
However, sources said the police were preparing complaints to be submitted to lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. A second showdown was expected on Friday with Kejriwal also planning to meet Jung.
(With inputs from agencies)