The Delhi government will soon file a criminal complaint against the Delhi Police after it once again refused to share details and evidence with the District Magistrate in connection with the farmer’s suicide at Wednesday’s AAP rally.
While police have cited legal nitty-gritties in not responding to DM Sanjay Kumar’s letter, Kumar confirmed that the government is seeking legal opinion on the matter and will be filing the complaint soon in a district court. The complaint will be lodged against the SHO of Parliament Street police station and the deputy commissioner of police, New Delhi, Kumar said.
Kumar has been asked by the Delhi government to carry out a magisterial inquiry into the alleged suicide of Rajasthan farmer Gajendra Singh. The DM had set 11 am on Friday as the deadline for the police to submit the details.
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Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said police has the powers to investigate under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) Act as well as the Delhi Police Act. “If anyone has any doubt, we will take a legal opinion,” he said.
However, officials said the DM is also going by the CrPC, in which Sections 174 (1) (4) and 176 state that “police have to inquire and report to the nearest executive magistrate empowered to hold inquests in case of any unnatural incident. When such a case is brought before the magistrate, the “magistrate so empowered may hold an inquiry into the cause of death either/instead of/ in addition to police…”
“Police has to inform the executive magistrate – it could either be a tehsildar, SDM, ADM or DM,” a senior government official saidA senior official said in the Chankyapuri division, around 200 cases have been reported by police to the executive magistrate for inquest.
“It is a norm that the executive magistrate is informed by police. In this case, the magistrate was not informed. When we asked police to report to us, they told us we had no jurisdiction,” the official said.
Contending this claim, police said there are nearly 7,000 cases of unnatural death every year in the capital, including suicides. Police carry out the “inquest” in all such cases while the government shows no interest in them. “Then why does the government want a magisterial inquiry when police have registered an FIR and are carrying out a thorough investigation?” a police officer said.
The officer further said, “An inquest is done by the magistrate as per law in cases of dowry death. When police file an FIR, then an inquest becomes part of the investigation which we have done in this case. The Sunanda Pushkar case is another such example.”
The police spokesperson refused to comment on the standoff between the government and police and said the communication between them was “privileged” and cannot be disclosed to the media.
On the same issue, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said there is a confidentiality in any exchange of documents shared between government departments. “We are ready to work with anyone. If the DM’s office wants to file a complaint against us, they must have their reasons. Our Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi range) is looking into administrative lapses,” Bassi said.
Sources said AAP leader Dilip Pandey was spotted at the DM’s New Delhi office. However, Pandey said he was there on a personal issue. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia reportedly held a meeting with the DM in the Delhi secretariat around noon.
Senior government officials said, in the magisterial inquiry, the conspiracy angle will be looked in to to ascertain if there is any political motive behind the incident.