Court slams cops for shoddy reply on constable's death

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday slammed the police and warned them of "drastic steps" for not filing a proper response on a petition for a CBI probe into the death of a constable during the anti-rape protests here last month.

"You want that the commissioner of police should stand here in the court with litigants? I can pass that order," Justice G.P. Mittal said.

The court pulled up the police after the crime branch deputy commissioner filed a brief reply in the form of a status report, without any affidavit, on a petition filed by a lawyer seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into constable Subhash Tomar's death while controlling anti-rape protests near India Gate in December 2012.

"This is not acceptable. Perhaps I have to take some drastic steps," the judge said.

Tomar, who died Dec 25, 2012, was injured during anti-rape protests Dec 23, 2012.

Petitioner Gaurav Kumar Bansal pointed out that a three-page reply was filed on his plea by the deputy commissioner of police.

The reply should have been filed by the police chief, he said.

Bansal said that as per the court's order, the union home ministry and the Delhi government were also supposed to file replies but they failed to do so.

The court told the police to file their reply again and asked the central and state governments to respond within a week.

Appearing for the police, Additional Solicitor General Sidharth Luthra assured the court that a proper reply will be filed within a week.

The court also took up a separate plea filed by eight accused booked in the constable death case for quashing charges against them.

While hearing an application filed by two of the eight accused, the court directed the investigating officer to preserve within three days the CCTV footage of a mobile store where the two claimed to be present when the constable was allegedly attacked by protestors.

Advocate Somnath Bharti, appearing for all the eight accused, had moved the application for preservation of video footage.

The court also asked the police to file a short status report by Feb 20, the next date of hearing.

Police said Tomar was assaulted and trampled upon by the crowd protesting at India Gate against the Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape of a trainee physiotherapist here. But two witnesses said that he collapsed while chasing the crowd and that he was not beaten or trampled by the protestors.

The trial court Dec 24 granted bail to the accused, who were arrested after the registration of a murder case.