Court pulls up police for filing closure report in rape case

Two days after Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to take appropriate action against an Assistant Commissioner of Police and two other police officers for filing a closure report in the rape case of a law graduate, Delhi Police is probing into the merits of the case.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) Taj Hassan told Newsline, "The High Court has given Delhi Police ten weeks' time to submit a report. Action deemed fit in this regard will be taken. We are going to analyse the complainant's statements again. A vigilance or departmental inquiry might be initiated against the three officers but we cannot comment till we have looked into the merits of the case."

The incident was reported from Barakhamba Road in June 2010, when a woman alleged that she was raped by her employer —the owner of a real estate firm.

"The complainant was a law graduate and was preparing for her civil services examination. After her father passed away, she and her sister were left alone and the complainant needed a job to support themselves. So, she started working in the legal department of the real estate firm. Her LLB degree, passport, driver's licence and PAN card were kept in the office as security," a senior police officer said.

However, the owner of the firm allegedly started molesting the woman weeks after she joined office. In her statement to police, she said she decided to leave her job but when she approached her employer for the documents, he refused to give them.

On the day of the incident, her employer's domestic help took her to his house and offered her drinks laced with sedatives.

She said she woke up a little later when her employer was raping her. He allegedly told her that he had made a video of the entire incident and would make it public.

An FIR was registered in this regard at Barakhamba Road police station on June 7. "However, a cancellation report was prepared by the investigating officer — a woman Sub-Inspector — two months later and submitted on August 16. The cancellation was approved by the ACP on August 21," the officer said.

One of the reasons Delhi Police gave for the closure of the case was that the victim had changed the location of the occurrence of the incident in her statements, leading to doubts about the veracity of her version.

However, the victim said she had told police about the confusion she had over the place where she was raped. Her employer had multiple offices and the name of one particular address — at Kasturba Gandhi Marg — was the one she first mentioned. She later told police that the incident had taken place at his house .

She said police had decided to ignore her complaint over a "minor" mistake.

The court too noted that any contradiction about the place of incident was required to be examined only at the trial stage.

"Unfortunately, the IO took upon herself to undertake the job of court in disbelieving the statement," the order said.

Terming it "intriguing" that despite the complainant's statement before the magistrate, the IO had preferred to conclude there was no ground to proceed against the accused, the court said. The supervisory SHO and ACP too had turned a blind eye to the cancellation report, the court said.

The order further said that the manner in which the cancellation report has been submitted, the only inference that could be drawn is that either "the three police officers were too inefficient to analyse" when a cancellation report is to be filed or "the cancellation report was motivated".

The court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to look into the "conduct of the IO, SHO and ACP and take appropriate action against them within eight weeks".

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