New Delhi: Responding to questions raised on the probe into Delhi riots by veteran cop Julio Ribeiro, Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivasta wrote to him Tuesday saying the investigation was being carried out without any discrimination based on caste or religion, and was backed by documentary and scientific evidence.
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. 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,” Ribeiro wrote in his letter titled “miscarriage of justice in northeast Delhi”.
Responding to Ribeiro on Tuesday, Shrivastava said that it was his duty to put things in the correct perspective.
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”.
“It (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.
He said the “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”.
“It (police) has 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.
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.