The Delhi High Court is expected to pass an order today on a status report filed by the Delhi Police on the deployment of police control room vans or PCRs on the evening of December 16, when 23-year-old 'Amanat' (NOT her real name) was gang-raped and tortured in a moving bus in the national capital.
The police had submitted it report on Wednesday after it was ordered by the High Court to give details of PCR vans deployed that night and on whether any action had been taken against policemen stationed in the area that the bus drove through unstopped as the horrific assault took place inside it.
Yesterday, during a hearing on the report, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain slammed the police for not mentioning names of the policemen on PCR duty in the area that night in its report. "Till today, you are not giving the names. What is the difficulty? You cannot hold back the names like this. We are not happy. Earlier also we had expressed our unhappiness, even then you are not giving the names. What actions have you taken so far?" the bench asked.
The court also wanted to know why some of the top police officials in the city, including the Commissioner, should not be made accountable for the slips in policing that night. And why a bus with tinted glass and curtains was allowed to ply unchecked on Delhi's roads, through many police checkposts. It is against the law in Delhi to have tinted windows on any vehicle.
In its defence, the police said in court that there were 66 police vans in south Delhi and it was difficult to pinpoint which were patrolling the area at the time. It also pleaded that PCR vans did not come under district policing, but were controlled by a separate unit.
Dayan Krishnan, the counsel for police, said there were two PCR vans close to the site and it cannot be said that the bus, in which offence took place, pass through them. The counsel also said that an ACP has been suspended.
But the bench remarked, "Why is only one ACP (Assistant Commissioner of Police) mentioned in the report? Why should there be no blame for the Deputy Commissioner of Police or the Commissioner?"
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is among those who has suggested that Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar must resign, accepting responsibility for the many lapses that allowed the assault on Amanat and her male friend after they boarded the bus.
Mr Kumar has refused to quit. The Delhi Police reports not to the chief minister, but the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, and is supervised by the Union Home Ministry.
The High Court had, on December 19, taken suo motu cognisance of the gang-rape incident and decided to monitor its probe by directing police to carry an investigation of "high standard".
Six drunk men allegedly hit Amanat and her friend with an iron rod before taking turns to rape her on December 16. The couple was then thrown naked onto the road. She died nearly two weeks later; five men have been charged with her rape and murder.
The assault on 'Amanat' hit India with brute force, triggering massive angry protests and a demand for better policing in cities like Delhi.
Today, the five accused are meant to be brought from Tihar Jail to a South Delhi court.
Concerns for their security were shared by the public prosecutor on Monday when they were brought to court for the first time after being charged with the crime that stunned and outraged India. Now, sources say options like holding their trial via video conference, or a trial within the premises of Tihar Jail are being considered.(With inputs from PTI)