BSP MP, wife sent to 2-day police custody in maid’s murder
BSP MP Mr. Singh Singh and his wife Mrs. Singh, arrested in connection with the murder of their maid, were remanded to two-day police custody on Saturday by a Delhi court after police told a court here that they have to confront them with recordings of CCTV footage regarding the identity of some unidentified persons seen in it.
Mr. Singh, a BSP MP from Jaunpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, and Mrs. Singh, a dental surgeon at the R.M.L. Hospital here, were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Jasjeet Kaur after expiry of their judicial custody and the Delhi Police sought four days of police custody for interrogating them regarding the unidentified persons.
The couple were arrested on November 5 in connection with the death of their 35-year-old maid Rakhi Bhadra, a resident of West Bengal.
Additional Public Prosecutor Mukul Kumar told the court that police custody is required to confront the two accused with the Digital Video Recordings (DVRs) of CCTV footage in order to ascertain the identity of certain unidentified persons figuring in it.
The prosecutor said the recordings pertains to 20 CCTV cameras installed at 175, South Avenue residence, where the incident had taken place, and runs into about 2,000 hours.
The advocates, appearing for the couple, opposed the police’s plea saying they have already interrogated both the accused for five days in their custody and further custodial interrogation is not required.
Senior advocate Hariharan argued his client was not residing at 175, South Avenue for the last two years and he was not even in Delhi between November 1 to November 4 when the alleged incident took place.
The court, however, remanded both the accused to police custody till November 18 saying the police need to ascertain the identity of these unidentified persons figuring in the CCTV footage.
“I have considered the submissions of Additional Public Prosecutor and counsel for the accused persons. Allegations against the accused persons are serious in nature. From the material on record, it is evident that opportunity has not been given to the investigating agency to confront the two accused persons with the DVRs handed over to the investigating officer by accused Mr. Singh Singh in order to facilitate custodial interrogation of accused persons for ascertaining the identity of unidentified persons. Accused persons are remanded to police custody for two days,” the magistrate said.
During the hearing, the police told the court that they have received the forensic report of the DVRs on November 14 and they need to confront both the accused with it as they had given some contradictory statements earlier.
The prosecutor said although it cannot be said at this stage whether these unidentified persons were involved in the commission of the crime but they wanted to confront the accused to ascertain their identities.
He said the video recordings of 20 CCTV cameras between November 1 and November 4 runs into around 2,000 hours and they need at least four days to confront the accused with it.
He said the DVRs were earlier sent to FSL for expert opinion and they have received it only on November 14 so they need police custody of both the accused.
Mr. Hariharan opposed the police’s plea saying there is nothing to confront the accused persons as the alleged unidentified persons can be seen in the CCTV footage and police may ask their witnesses to identify them.
He said Mr. Singh cannot identify those persons as he was not in Delhi and was also not residing at 175, South Avenue residence.
Advocate Pramod Dubey, who appeared for Mrs. Singh, too opposed the police’s plea saying there is nothing to identify and the police custody should not be given as it may be misused to extort confession of the accused.
The court, which was scheduled to hear the bail plea of Mr. Singh, listed it for hearing on November 18.
Earlier, Mrs. Singh’s counsel had told the court that his client was in “acute mental depression” and the investigating officer should have said this to the court. He had referred to media reports and claimed that she was suffering from “bouts of uncontrolled behaviour”.
The court, however, had told him to produce relevant medical documents in this regard before it.
The court had earlier disposed off Mr. Singh’s plea for preserving the call details records of two mobile phone numbers used by the MP and also the mirror image of the DVRs.
It had directed the FSL, Rohini, to preserve the call detail records and DVRs.
The police had earlier told the court that besides Rakhi, there were two more domestic helps, including a 17-year-old boy, employed at their 175, South Avenue residence in Chanakyapuri and they were also beaten up mercilessly by Mrs. Singh, 29, and Mr. Singh, 38.
One of the maids was severely injured and was undergoing treatment at a hospital in New Delhi, it had said, adding that the domestic helps were beaten up by wooden sticks, iron rods, iron and even metallic deer horns by the accused.
The minor boy was also produced in the court and he had shown the judge severe injuries inflicted on him.
Regarding Mr. Singh, the police had said he tried to destroy the video recording of 20 CCTV cameras installed in his house after the incident.
The body of Rakhi, who had been working at the MP’s house from past one year, bearing burn marks and injuries on the chest, stomach, arms and legs, was recovered from the lawmaker’s residence at South Avenue here in the evening of November 4 after Mr. Singh informed the police.
Mr. Singh, who already faces charges of murder, extortion and other offences under the Gangsters Act, was arrested for allegedly destroying evidence, not informing police about the maid’s death immediately and employing a juvenile as domestic help.
Mrs. Singh has been arrested under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 344 (wrongful confinement) of Indian Penal code and Juvenile Justice Act.
The juvenile had told the police that Jagriti had been regularly beating up the three domestic helps, including Rakhi, on petty issues. Rakhi was brutally beaten on Diwali night and she succumbed to her injuries the next morning, it had said.
The police had said the CCTV cameras were installed in the MP’s house to keep tabs on servants’ movements and Jagriti controlled cameras through her mobile phone and TV set.