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Constable death: Police asked to preserve metro footage

December 28, 2012 18:44 IST
A court in New Delhi asked the crime branch of the Delhi police to preserve the CCTV footage of Rajiv Chowk and Rithala metro stations as evidence in the case of the death of Constable Subhash Chand Tomar in violent protests at India Gate against the December 16 gang-rape incident.

"Since the investigating officer has already taken steps for preserving the CCTV footage, there is no harm if the CCTV footage is preserved to serve the ends of justice. Therefore, the IO is directed to do the needful regarding the preservation of the CCTV footage pertaining to stations Rithala and Rajiv Chowk dated December 23, 2012 for relevant time and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is also directed to preserve the same at the instance of the IO. Application stands disposed of accordingly," Metropolitan Magistrate Ambika Singh said.

The court's order came on the plea of two accused in the case, Kailash Joshi and his brother Amit, seeking directions to the police and the DMRC to preserve the December 23 video footage of Rajiv Chowk and Rithala metro stations to prove their pleas of alibi.

The two have contended that they were not part of the protests in which Tomar was grievously injured and at the relevant time they were travelling in metro trains.

Besides the two brothers, six others -- Nafees, Shankar Bisht, Nand Kumar, Shantanu Kumar, Abhishek and Chaman Kumar -- have been made accused for allegedly taking part in protests which later turned violent and in which Tomar had allegedly got injured and later succumbed to his injuries. All eight are now facing murder charges.

Both the DMRC and police on Friday submitted their respective status reports in the case.

The DMRC in its one-page status report said, "...it is being submitted that available footage of the CCTV camera installed at Rithala and Rajiv Chowk metro stations for date December 23 2012, from 3pm to 6pm, has been preserved in the system and is available for aid in the investigation for the police. The CCTV footage will be made available to the court and investigation agencies whenever required."

In its report, the DMRC added that "it is pertinent to mention that CCTV footage is preserved in the system for seven days only and after that it is automatically erased by the system. As per the DMRC policy, CCTV footage is provided to investigation agencies or on court orders only."

The crime branch in its status report said the case was transferred to it and the case file was received by it only on December 27.

It said, "The investigation of the case is at an initial stage and notice has already been served upon the concerned DMRC official for providing CCTV footage dated December 23 2012 for relevant time pertaining to Rithala and Rajiv Chowk metro stations as claimed by accused Amit Joshi and Kailash Joshi."

Crime Branch Inspector Rajeev Kumar, who filed the one-page report in the court sought directions for the two accused to join the probe "so that the route and way adopted by them during metro journey can be ascertained for early scrutiny of the CCTV footage".

The crime branch requested for at least a week's time to file the status report saying that after the receipt of the CCTV footage from the DMRC, it needs to scrutinise the same.

During the hearing, advocate Somnath Bharti who appeared for both the accused told the court that the DMRC should be ordered to preserve the CCTV footage as according to their status report it is mentioned that the footage is preserved in its system for seven days only and after that it gets automatically erased.

Advocate Bharti also said the footage should be submitted before the court in a CD form by the DMRC as the police can "tamper" with it.

"There is a problem that they (police) can tamper with the footage, so please direct that DMRC should preserve it as on the seventh day it will be erased from the system automatically," Bharti said.

Earlier on December 24, the court had granted bail to all the eight accused in the case.

Tomar, however, died later and consequently, the accused were booked under section 302 (murder) of the IPC, said the police, which has now handed over the probe to its crime branch.

The mass protest at India Gate, against the gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in New Delhi, had turned violent on December 23 in which the constable had allegedly received injuries.

The police had claimed that hooligans had taken over the peaceful protest and violence erupted at India Gate in which 78 policemen and 65 protesters were injured. Various PCR vans and DTC buses were also damaged by the violent protesters.

Tomar, who died on December 25 at RML hospital, was posted at Karawal Nagar police station and was called to help police in maintaining law and order at India Gate during protests on Sunday.

According to the FIR lodged against the eight accused, they indulged in violent protests in which over 20 buses and other government vehicles were damaged by the agitators. It said Tomar, who had succumbed to his injuries allegedly sustained during the protest, was badly injured in the protest.

The police also alleged in its FIR that 10 rounds of bullet were found missing from a sub-inspector's official pistol, while some agitators had also snatched two boxes of the tear gas shell from police officials who were preventing them from causing damage at the India Gate.

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