Shocked to see Home Secy patting top cop: Verma

Justice J S Verma Wednesday said he was "shocked as a citizen" to see the Delhi Police commissioner "get a pat on his back from the home secretary" after the December 16 gangrape.

He strongly supported the protesters at India gate, who "did not react and continued (to be) calm", "even when there was provocation", and despite the fact that they "did not even know each other".

The government and police, on the other hand, failed in their duty, Justice Verma, who headed the three-member committee, told a news conference. The chief of Delhi Police should have taken responsibility for the incident, and could have at least tendered an apology for having failed to do his job, Verma said.

The committee said that its request for data from ministers, governments and concerned officials had got only a "lukewarm response". DGPs of many states had failed to respond to the panel, and "something needs to be done to review the appointment of the DGPs", Justice Verma said.

The panel noted the "peculiarity" of the city government in that it has no control over the police — the reason given by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to bypass responsibility. "This ambiguity must be removed forthwith so that there is no divided responsibility in Delhi in respect of maintenance of law and order," Verma said.

He also criticised citizens who allowed the victim and her friend to lie unattended on the road for long, an apathy that he described as being "equally shocking".

Verma said he had decided to submit the report within a month after being approached by a senior minister on December 23, and now expected the government to act equally seriously.

"When a senior cabinet minister approached me on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, I asked him when is the next session of Parliament. The minister told me that the (budget) session will start on February 21. There were two months. So I decided let's do it in 30 days. If we are able to do it in half the time available, then the government with its might and resources should also act fast," Verma said.

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