Twists and tails in Rajbir Singh saga

April 1st, 2008 - 12:49 pm ICT by admin  

(Commentary)
By Maxwell Pereira
The delay in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) taking over the investigation into the murder of Delhi Police officer Rajbir Singh is baffling. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced that he had instructed his Director General of Police Ranjit Dalal to transfer the case to the CBI. This, he said, was on the request of the deceased officer’s family. Once the chief minister has expressed this intention, it is not clear how the Gurgaon police have continued to speak to the media on the case or the progress of investigation. And with each piece of selective information being doled out to the press, a new controversy is created.

The latest controversial information given out Sunday is regarding the murder weapon Rajbir Singh is supposed to have given to the accused, Vijay Bharadwaj. From reports so far, however, the weapon did not bear Bharadwaj’s fingerprints; presumably it was wiped clean. Why?

What purpose does it serve at this juncture to inform the press that the murder weapon had originally been issued to a Haryana cadre senior police officer? What was the reason for this disclosure? How and why did this weapon get into Rajbir Singh’s hands?

We are assuming here that the weapon was indeed given to Bharadwaj by Rajbir Singh. This is based on, and only on, the version said to have been given by the suspect to the Gurgaon police after the killing.

It is clear the Gurgaon police have committed the cardinal mistake right from the start of relying on the so-called confessional statement of Bharadwaj - without verifying it or questioning the glaring discrepancies therein before basing their investigative assumptions and conclusions solely on it.

That this confession is suspect, at least partially not correct, came from the Gurgaon police when it declared that Bharadwaj had planned the murder three days prior to the killing, when he asked Rajbir Singh for the gun on the pretext of having to collect large sums of money from some other creditor.

That the Gurgaon police continue to rely on Bharadwaj’s version that the weapon was given to him by Rajbir Singh to be gospel truth even after holes being picked into the confessional statement is more baffling! Is all this because of convenience, or because of possible collusion? Is there an agenda behind this?

Getting into the shoes of an ‘encounter specialist’, particularly one of the stature of Rajbir Singh, one sees that whatever the nature or level of their friendship, Rajbir Singh and Bharadwaj knew each other for over 20 years. With the by now concluded association between them over land deals, there was some level of trust between the two to warrant the ‘encounter specialist’ leave behind his personal protection weapon in a box in his vehicle, than keep it on his person while meeting Bharadwaj.

Had he indeed given a weapon to Bharadwaj, by no stretch of imagination in such a situation can one envisage a seasoned hit-man to expose himself unprotected, to go into Bharadwaj’s office premises unarmed - however trustworthy the person within the office be!

If one were to analyse the media leaks attributed to the Gurgaon police from that fateful night of March 24, one wonders if there is a pattern. Of each officer falling over the other in reaching the press with a new piece of information, piecemeal at that, and either contradicting the earlier version, or raising eyebrows with new questions galore. Is it just a display of immature handling of the media, or is there a design behind this?

By the way, what was the role of the governments involved - the central government, Haryana and Delhi? One senses the involvement of governmental agencies: There was one report stating that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had ruled out a terrorist hand. There were reports about Delhi Police conducting parallel interrogations and investigations through two crack teams separately. And now we have the central government’s procrastination over the CBI taking over the investigation!

What is most baffling though is the overall role of Delhi Police in the death of one of its greatest contributors, one who repeatedly brought glory to this force and one who won as many as five gallantry awards - perhaps the highest in the country.

Is the reason for Delhi Police playing the fence on account of the controversy that surrounded the officer? Is it because of his tainted name over alleged involvement with land mafia and drug lords? Or is it because of the huge sums of ill-gotten money the officer is supposed to have amassed through shady deals and insinuated threats for extortion? Are they true or just canards?

Whatever… just canards or true, how then haven’t Delhi Police failed to nail the matter either way? If it was beyond its own competence to nail the issue, why then have Delhi Police not been the first to clamour for a CBI probe? Is it because of other skeletons that may tumble out of its cupboards?

(Maxwell Pereira is a former joint commissioner of Delhi Police. He can be reached at mfjpkamath@gmail.com)

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