Then police commissioner Neeraj Kumar recounts the indefatigable investigation
Neeraj Kumar | December 16, 2019
This is an excerpt from 'Khaki Files' (published in Ebury Press and Blue Salt by Penguin Random House India, 2019) by Neeraj Kumar, a distinguished IPS officer who retired as Delhi police commissioner in 2013. He narrates several high-profile cases during his last assignment, and in the chapter titled 'Night of Shame', he details the swift police response after a young woman was brutally raped on the night of December 16, 2012.
I was then posted as the commissioner of police, Delhi, and was barely six months into my assignment after thirty-six years in the police force. This was going to be my last assignment before I retired. I certainly wished to sign off after a successful stint. Little did I know that the most testing time of my career was to come within six months of my taking over as the chief of Delhi Police.
The news reached the control room at my residence in real time. The wireless operator on duty that night woke me up. The information given to me then was sketchy, and since DCP Chhaya was at the scene, I felt reassured and tried to go back to sleep. However, I was restless for the rest of the night, checking on developments in the case every now and then.
At the hospital, DCP Chhaya heard the shocking details of the case from Awindra, particularly about the way Nirbhaya had been assaulted and the kind of injuries inflicted on her. She met Nirbhaya in the ICU and saw her pitiable condition. She was appalled and traumatized as never before in her career. The DCP found it difficult to come to terms with the extent to which Nirbhaya had been violated and brutalized by those depraved men.
No matter how much we in the police are trained and exposed to ghastly crimes, mutilated bodies and the brutish side of mankind, there are some moments in our careers when human weakness gets the better of us. It is to DCP Chhaya’s credit that she pulled herself together, collected her wits and continued with the job at hand.
Based on the details given by Awindra about the bus in which the horrific crime had been committed, DCP Chhaya sent out a wireless message through the central PCR for all PCR vans and police patrols to look for a white bus with green and yellow stripes on it. Border check posts were alerted to intercept white buses matching the description.
She then went to the Vasant Vihar police station with Awindra, and based on his statement, registered a case of rape, abduction, armed robbery with attempt to murder and entrusted the investigation to SI Pratibha Sharma.
The DCP realized that this was, in Delhi Police jargon, a ‘very bad case’, and she had to take swift action. In the absence of any worthwhile clues, she knew that if the case was to be cracked, locating the bus was critical. All that was known from Awindra’s account, besides its colour and the stripes painted on its sides, was that it had a separate driver’s cabin, red seat covers and yellow curtains, and that the hubcap of the front left wheel was missing.
She summoned the ten best inspectors of the south district to the Vasant Vihar police station with their respective teams. Inspector Rajender Singh of the Special Staff—an experienced and versatile officer—was the star investigator amongst them. DCP Chhaya allocated specific jobs to each inspector and made the police station her mission control room. None of them went home for five days and nights, not until the last accused had been arrested.
One team left for the Delhi Transport Department to get details of all white buses registered with them. Transport department officials were woken up and pulled out of the comfort of their beds. By about 5 a.m., the police had the details of 320 white buses. The team began to look for these buses and their owners that were based in Delhi, as well as for other white buses at the bus terminals in neighbouring states.
Another team led by SI Pratibha Sharma, the investigating officer on the case, completed formalities at the hospital and visited the spot where the two youngsters had been found.
She collected samples of bloodstained grass and leaves from nearby bushes, dirt soaked with blood and so on and sealed them securely.
Inspector Rajender Singh and two other teams scoured the CCTV footage from all hotels and guest houses on the national highway opposite the crime scene. Interestingly, the police teams noticed a white bus with ‘Yadav’ painted on its side in the CCTV footage of Hotel Delhi Airport. The bus was seen coming from Delhi, seemingly heading for Gurugram, but within nineteen minutes, at 9.53 p.m., it reappeared on the screen, heading again in the same direction. The obvious conclusion was that it had taken a U-turn from under the flyover located close by, proceeded towards Delhi instead of going towards Gurugram, and had again turned around to drive towards Gurugram.
The CCTV footage of the white bus was shown to Awindra, who confirmed that it indeed looked like the bus he had boarded. He looked intently at the front left wheel, and sure enough, it did not have a hubcap. [...]
(Excerpt reproduced with permission of the publishers.)
As the Covid-19 situation continues to improve in India, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has decided to continue the Guidelines for Reopening, which have already done away with nearly all of Lockdown restrictions in areas outside the containment zones. The MHA issued an order Monday and e
After a scare in September with the number of daily fresh cases inching above 90,000, India seems to have gone down the peak, with several key parameters giving cause for relief just in time for the annual festive season. The new confirmed cases in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning have fallen below 36,500 (
The annual festive season has brought good news for India: the country’s case fatality ratio has gone down to touch 1.5 percent, and the number of deaths per day has dipped below 500 in the 24 hours to Monday morning – bringing the situation closer to the number before the lockdown was imposed
Basking in the success of the new web series, ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story ’,on SonyLIV, the OTT platform from Sony stable where the lead actors are new faces, NP Singh, MD and CEO of Sony Pictures Networks, has said that the script is the new hero. He credited the s
India’s trend of steadily decreasing active cases continues unabated. The number of Active Cases has remained below 10% of the total cases for the last three days, suggesting only one in 10 cases is active Covid-19 patient. The active cases comprise merely 9.29% of the total positive c
The union cabinet chaired by prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its approval to pay productivity linked bonus (PLB) for 2019-20 to 16.97 lakh non-gazetted employees of commercial establishments like Railways, Posts, Defence, EPFO, and ESIC, with a financial implication of Rs.2,791 crore.