War of Words Between Top Cops Over Delhi Riots Probe
- Indian Masterminds Bureau
- Published on 16 Sep 2020, 4:38 pm IST
- 6 minutes read
Veterans cops like former Mumbai Police Commissioner and Punjab DGP Julio Riberio raise doubts over fairness of investigations while Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava counters the charges
- Julio Riberio
Police probe into Delhi riots has triggered a war of words between top police brass with some veteran cops led by former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Riberio, raising doubts on fairness of investigation and Delhi police commissioner giving it back to them.
Ribeiro, a Padma Bhushan awardee who has served as Mumbai police commissioner and director general of Punjab and Gujarat and the Central Reserve Police Force, had said that the Delhi Police has “deliberately failed to register cases against those who made hate speeches, which triggered riots in north-east Delhi.
“I write to you with a heavy heart. As a true patriot and a former proud member of the Indian Police Service, I appeal to you to ensure a fair probe into the 753 FIRs registered against peaceful protesters who rightly apprehend injustices born from bias and hate against a minority community. The Delhi Police has taken action against peaceful protesters but deliberately failed to register cognizable offences against those who made hate speeches which triggered the riots in Northeast Delhi,” Riberio wrote to Delhi police commissioner SN Shrivastava in his letter titled “miscarriage of justice in northeast Delhi”.
Riberio further wrote, “It troubles sane and apolitical persons, like me, why Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma have not been arraigned before the courts of law while deeply hurt Muslim women, peacefully protesting against discriminations based on religion, were lodged for months together in jail.” He concluded saying it was his duty to put things in the correct perspective.
In his reply to Riberio, Delhi CP SN Shrivastava said the Delhi Police have examined a large number of persons who either have a role in north-east Delhi riots or have information that will “help arrive at the truth”. The police has questioned persons without regard to their religion and party affiliation. It has collected documentary evidence, including scientific evidence, to support its case, Shrivastava wrote adding, “specific details, understandably, cannot be shared at this stage”.
Dismissing allegations that the police were targeting a particular community, Shrivastava said “the arrestees are almost equally distributed among both communities”.
The police have arrested 1,571 persons irrespective of their caste or religion. Almost all the accused persons arrested in heinous offences have been remanded to judicial custody by courts of law and not admitted to bail. Chargesheets in many cases have been filed while investigation is continuing in many others, the Delhi top cop said.
Giving details of the FIRs registered in the riots cases, Shrivastava explained 410 cases were registered on the complaints by the minority community. “Police does not differentiate a complainant on the basis of caste or religion, it may be mentioned solely for the purpose of clearing any doubt in the minds of people questioning our probe, that more than 410 FIRs were registered on the complaints of minority community. The other community accounted for over 190 FIRs. The remaining were registered on the basis of (police’s) Daily Diary entries.”
In his letter, Ribeiro, who led the Punjab police during the insurgency in the state, also questioned the police interrogating people like DU professor Apoorvanand. “The not-so-subtle attempt by the Delhi Police to entangle true patriots, like Harsh Mander and Prof Apoorvanand, in criminal cases is another matter for concern… Kindly revisit the actions of the police under your command in Delhi to determine if they have been true to their oaths taken at the time of their induction into service,” he said. Apoorvanand had been summoned by the special cell but has not been named in any charge sheet.
Web of Deception
In the context of criticism of the riots probe by several quarters, including IPS officers and civil society, Shrivastava said, “Several entities who have their reasons to weave a web of deception and to push a false narrative of bias and insensitivity on the part of the police.”
“It is best that the criminal justice system, with its inherent checks and balances may be allowed work, lest lending one’s name inadvertently imparts a false aura of credibility and authenticity to these concocted and motivated stories. Also, anybody aggrieved with the investigation can always seek judicial remedies,” the Delhi Police commissioner said.
The Delhi top cop said that he valued the suggestions while mentioning that Ribeiro was at the zenith of his career when he had just joined the police service.
‘Probe On Protests Not Violence’
Earlier, a group of eminent citizens too had raised doubts over fairness of police probe. “As citizens deeply committed to Constitutional values, we condemn the arrest of Umar Khalid who has been subjected to a malicious investigation targeting peaceful anti-CAA protesters… With deep anguish, we have no doubt in saying that this investigation is not about the violence in the national capital, but on the completely peaceful and democratic protests across the country against the unconstitutional CAA,” read a statement by 36 signatories, including Syeda Hameed, Arundhati Roy, Ramachandra Guha, T M Krishna, Brinda Karat, Jignesh Mevani, P Sainath, Prashant Bhushan and Harsh Mander.
On Sunday, retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro, who was former Mumbai police commissioner, DGP Gujarat and Punjab, and former Indian Ambassador to Romania, had written to Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava, questioning the probe into the Northeast Delhi riots cases. On Monday, nine more retired officers wrote an open letter to Shrivastava requesting re-investigation of all riot cases. The signatories of the letter included former Director General National Crime Records Bureau Shafi Alam and former Special Director CBI K Saleem Ali.
Attempts Made to Influence Probe
“We were sad to note that one of your Special Commissioners had tried to influence investigations claiming resentment among Hindus over the arrest of some rioters belonging to their community. Such a majoritarian attitude in the police leadership leads to a travesty of justice for the victims of violence and their family members belonging to minority communities. This would further mean that the real culprits of the violence belonging to the majority community are likely to go scot free,” read the letter.
“Basing investigations on ‘disclosures’ without concrete evidence violates all principles of fair investigation. While implicating leaders and activists, who expressed their views against CAA, all those who instigated violence and are associated with the ruling party have been let off the hook,” it read.
Delhi Police’s Additional PRO Anil Mittal said that “investigation of all riot cases has been done professionally and meticulously. The matter is subjudice, and any grievances in this regard have to be raised at the appropriate forum. Regarding the letter written by Special CP, mentioned in this letter, the matter has already been adjudicated by the Delhi High Court. Prima facie, nothing wrong was found in issuing directions by senior officers”.
END OF THE ARTICLE