The Delhi Police on Monday opposed in a court in New Delhi the bail plea of Bahujan Samaj Party MP Dhananjay Singh, arrested along with his wife Jagriti Singh in connection with murder of their maid, claiming he was aware of the cruelty being meted out to the servants and had also beaten one of them.
The police told the court that as per the forensic reports of digital video recorders (DVRs) of 20 CCTV cameras installed at the MP's residence where the incident took place, some of their contents have been "formatted" and Dhananjay had handed over these footages to investigators after a lapse of around 15 hours.
Additional Public Prosecutor Mukul Kumar told the court that although Dhananjay had filed a plea seeking divorce from Jagriti in August this year, he was in constant touch with her and one of the maids, Meena, had told the investigators that the MP had hit her once with slippers.
"As per FSL report, contents of DVRs have been formatted... everything has been washed off," Kumar told Metropolitan Magistrate Gomati Manocha adding the MP had given DVRs to the police "after a lapse of around 15 hours."
The court, which concluded hearing the arguments on the bail plea, reserved its order for November 20.
Dhananjay, a BSP MP from Jaunpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, and Jagriti, a dental surgeon at the R M L Hospital, were produced before the court after expiry of two days of police custody and the police moved an application for sending them to judicial custody.
The court remanded both of them to judicial custody till November 20.
The court also made it clear that before passing an order on Dhananjay's bail plea, it would go through the recordings of the CCTV footage of the 20 cameras.
During the hearing on the bail petition, senior advocate Hariharan, who appeared for Dhananjay, argued it was his client who had informed the police about the incident at 175, South Avenue, and he was not in Delhi between November 1 and November 4 when the incident took place.
Hariharan told the court that "Dhananjay had moved a plea seeking divorce from Jagriti. He has been residing separately at 126, South Avenue, and one of the reasons for seeking divorce is this very aspect that she (Jagriti) was treating him and the servants cruelly."
Regarding the CCTV footages, the defence counsel said Dhananjay was not seen in it as he was not residing at 175, South Avenue, and as per the FIR, the MP informed the police about the incident soon after he came to Delhi from Jaunpur on November 4.
"Where is any lapse of time (in informing the police)? The moment I (MP) landed here from Jaunpur, I informed the police. It cannot be held against me that there was any delay on my part in informing the police about the incident," he said.
During the arguments, the court asked the police about the allegations that the servants and maids were not allowed to go out of the 175, South Avenue residence.
"Why iron grills were there in the house? Was it meant to prevent outsiders from entering the house or was it meant for servants that they could not go outside? Whether the grills were there so that servants could not escape," the magistrate said.
To this, the defence counsel said it was meant for security only as Dhananjay is a sitting MP and it was being done by security agencies.
Countering the submissions of the defence counsel, the police said as soon as Dhananjay got the information about the incident, he should have first informed the police but he did not do so and came to Delhi from Jaunpur.
The Additional Public Prosecutor said "some disturbing features" have emerged from the DVRs and it shows that the deceased was beaten up "mercilessly".
Regarding the formatting done in the DVRs, he said they are investigating as to on whose instruction it was done.
Referring to the statement given by Meena, who was also allegedly beaten up by the accused, the police said she had told that Dhananjay was in touch with Jagriti and had also hit her.
"What else is abetment and conspiracy?," it said adding even Dev Kumar, who had brought these maids to 175, South Avenue, had told Dhananjay about the servants being beaten up by Jagriti but he did not take any action to prevent it.