New Delhi, (The Telegraph): Delhi police today treated BJP MLA O.P. Sharma, accused of assaulting a CPI supporter at the Patiala House Courts on Monday, to a free vegetarian meal from a Connaught Place restaurant and several cups of coffee before arresting and letting him off within 15 minutes.
"He is a high-profile legislator and that's why we ordered food from the restaurant. It was just a human gesture," said an officer of Tilak Marg Police station where the hospitality was extended to Sharma, adding he "was not an ordinary person".
The police station is barely 500 meters from the Patiala House Courts where Sharma was caught on camera thrashing rights activist and CPI supporter Ameeque Jamei. The violence had occurred ahead of JNU students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar's appearance, with several teachers, students and journalists also beaten up by a group of lawyers who yesterday brutally assaulted Kanhaiya.
Today, Sharma spent nearly eight hours at the police station - from 11.10am till 7pm - where he was made to sit in the chamber of the officer-in-charge. "We recorded his statement and arrested him but he was released on bail after 15 minutes," said the officer.
Another officer said meals were not served to those called for questioning and that they were taken to a designated room for quizzing, not seated in the officer-in-charge's chamber. "The person calls friends or family members for food, though tea/coffee are offered as a courtesy. Food is served only in the lock-up."
Deputy commissioner Jatin Narwal - accused of being a mute spectator along with his teams during the violence on Monday and yesterday - visited the police station thrice today to ensure "Sharma was well taken care of", an officer at the police station said. "I do not want to comment," Narwal said, asked whether Sharma was being given VIP treatment.
Sharma justified his actions during the questioning, saying he could not tolerate an "anti-national". " Mera khoon garam ho jaata hai (my blood boils)," another cop quoted him saying.
Rakesh Singh, Sharma's personal assistant waiting outside, justified the assault by his boss on the CPI supporter. " Hamare sahib bade shaant aadmi hain. Lekin bahut jaldi gussa ho jaate hain agar koi desh ke bare mein galat bolta hai (My boss is a very calm person but gets angry easily if someone talks ill of the country)," Singh said.
Sharma was arrested around 6.45pm on charges of voluntarily causing hurt, committing affray (fighting in a public place) and wrongful restraint. "All these are bailable offences and he was released after his lawyer signed the papers," the Tilak Marg officer said. As he emerged, Sharma said he was made to sit inside for eight hours and that "it was nothing but harassment".
None of the three lawyers summoned over the attacks on journalists, students and teachers of JNU on Monday appeared today despite summons, prompting police commissioner B.S. Bassi to say they would move court for warrants if they continue to stay away. One of the three lawyers has been identified as Vikram Singh Chauhan while the names of the other two were not disclosed by the police.
Former Delhi University lecturer S.A.R. Gilani, arrested on sedition charges like Kanhaiya over a Press Club event last week, was presented before a magistrate in Chanakyapuri police station today instead of the Patiala House Courts. "We did not want to take any risk," said a senior officer.
The caution contrasted with the approach towards Kanhaiya, who was taken to Patiala House yesterday where he was attacked by lawyers in front of cops in defiance of Supreme Court orders for his security.
Bassi CIC move
Former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, objecting to a reported plan to appoint Delhi police chief Bassi information commissioner after he retires this month-end, said choosing him would be a "travesty of the process", adds PTI. "Bassi appears to have acquiesced to an open subversion of two of the estates of our nation," Gandhi said in a letter to cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha. Former top cop Julio Ribeiro said Bassi "is angling for a post-retirement job".
Photo credit: The Telegraph
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