Cops search CM’s residence for ‘scientific evidence’, take away recordings from 21 CCTVs
A 55-strong police team on Friday swooped down on chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in north Delhi’s Civil Lines to look for ‘scientific evidence’ in the case of alleged assault on Delhi’s chief secretary Anshu Prakash.
The police team searched every nook and corner of the chief minister’s house and seized hard disks containing footage from 21 CCTV cameras.
Kejriwal, his wife and parents were at the Flagstaff Road residence when the police entered the premises around 11.15am. The police, however, denied holding up the chief minister during the search operation or even interacting with him. Kejriwal left for a public function in west Delhi’s Bindapur mid-way during the search.
While a detailed analysis of the footage will be conducted in the next few days, Harender Singh, additional deputy commissioner of police (north), said seven of the 21 CCTV cameras were found to be switched off. “Our forensics team will be able to say when and under what circumstances these cameras were switched off or began malfunctioning,” said Singh, who led the search operation.
The additional DCP also pointed out that all 21 cameras were found to be slow by 40 minutes and 43 seconds and claimed that the forensics team would be able to say when the timings in the cameras were last reset. He said it was too early to say if the cameras had been tampered with.
“As per our records, the alleged offence happened between midnight and 12.15am on Monday,” said the officer. One video clip in circulation, obtained from the CCTV footage, has shown the chief secretary, Anshu Prakash, leaving the CM’s residence around 11.30pm on Sunday.
Aam Aadmi Party’s counsel, BS Joon, downplayed the controversy over the difference in timings in the CCTVs. “It does not matter what the timing of the incident was. We have already told the court that the incident under investigation was of eight minutes and seven seconds,” said Joon.
AAP spokesperson, Ashutosh, refused to believe the police had come looking for just CCTV footage. “The police were trying to find out when the walls of the residence were last painted. They were searching the lawns and the terrace,” he said.
The additional DCP said police were compelled to search the CM’s residence after investigators attempts to seek CCTV footage on February 20 were met with no response. “We had planned a visit to the residence around 9.30am, but postponed the visit because 100-150 people were to visit the CM for a public meeting in the morning,” said the additional DCP.
Teams drawn from the local police, the cyber cell and the forensics department arrived outside the CM’s residence around 11am, even as a group of curious onlookers and journalists began gathering outside. “Fifteen of us went inside the premises while around 40 men were deployed outside to ensure law and order. We needed to collect all possible scientific evidence put them on record in our probe,” said the officer.
The officer said the maintenance staff had been intimated about the police’s visit.
AAP staffers inside the residence claimed that the policemen even peeped inside bathrooms and searched porta cabins outside the bungalow. Police even checked the freshness of the wall paints and looked for repair works undertaken in the room where the alleged assault happened.
“We visited all the places where the complainant said he had been to that night. There were no CCTV cameras in the room where the assault happened. We were checking if any CCTV cameras had been taken off. But we did not find any fresh paint on the room walls,” said the officer.
Singh said the people in-charge of the maintenance of the CCTV cameras was questioned, mainly to understand the system. “The hall outside the crime scene and the corridors leading to it are covered by cameras. We will analyse people’s movement before and after the alleged offence,” said the officer.