A DELHI court Sunday remanded former AAP minister Sandeep Kumar, booked on charges of rape and corruption, to one-day police custody. Pointing out the ambiguity over slapping of corruption charges, the court commented that merely calling someone home was not enough to have attracted the charge.
Kumar was arrested Saturday night, hours after a woman alleged he had drugged and raped her a year ago, claimed police. The arrest came three days after Kumar was sacked as the Women and Child Development Minister following the release of a video showing the complainant and him in a “compromising position”. Police had sought 14-day custody for questioning Kumar on the basis of the statements given by the complainant.
Kumar was produced in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Shishir Aggarwal late Sunday evening. During the hearing, the public prosecutor asserted that police was keen on finding out the “primary device” or the origin of the video. Besides, police said they want to investigate the trail of the video — its leak and the channels through which it was circulated.
Police added that they want to find out “more such cases” of “exploitation” against Kumar following the statement of the complainant recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the CrPC. “The woman… alleged that Kumar has exploited many other women,” the IO told the court.
Police said during questioning, Kumar disclosed that it was his friend who blackmailed him and leaked the video. Police sources said the friend used to work with Kumar.
The court, however, asked why he was booked under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Police reasoned that the MLA had demanded physical favours in return for getting the woman a ration card and jobs for her family.
Dissatisfied with the explanation, the court said the woman had alleged her drink had been spiked after she had gone to Kumar’s house. “It can either be PC Act or rape. How can it be both? Calling to residence is not enough for attracting PC Act,” it said. Police responded,“Kumar wanted physical relationship on the pretext of ration card and therefore attracted PC Act.” To which the court said, “There should be some ground on which you added PC Act…”
Kumar’s lawyers argued that police had failed to explain why they needed his custody for 14 days. “The CD has been circulated to everyone. He is a victim and not an accused. The genuineness of the CD has to be ascertained. The woman has to be examined,” they said. Meanwhile, police said the video allegedly involving Kumar was recorded one-and-a-half-years ago at his office cum residence in Sultanpuri.
Sources said the MLA spent the entire night inside the lock-up before being questioned Sunday morning. “Initially, he did not accept that he made the video. However, he admitted to recording it and said he had engaged in a physical relationship with the woman,” said the sources.
Accepting that it was a mistake, Kumar told investigators that he never misused the video. “He claimed that six months ago, his friend tried to extort money by threatening to circulate the video. When Kumar refused, he claimed his friend made it public,” added the sources. Police are likely to ask his friend to join the probe.