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Nirbhaya case most critical in 37-year career as my reputation was at stake, recalls ex-Delhi Police chief

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Neeraj Kumar, who headed the Delhi Police when Nirbhaya was gang-raped and murdered in 2012, on Friday said it was the "most critical" case in his 37-year career.

Expressing relief at the outcome of the case after the four convicts were hanged in Tihar Jail, the 1976-batch IPS officer said his reputation was at stake with the case that caught the attention of the entire country.

Had this case not been brought to its logical conclusion, "all that I had done in my professional career would have been negated", he said.

Kumar, who is credited with many successful investigations that include deportation of dreaded terrorist Aftab Ansari, said the case was all the more important for him as there was a vociferous demand for his resignation and the world suddenly started "baying for my blood".

The incident was shocking and hearts of everyone from the police probe team were bleeding as more sordid details about the case surfaced one after another, he said.

"It's inhuman was my first reaction and the focus was to catch the culprits as soon as possible," Kumar told PTI at his residence in south Delhi.

"It became the most critical case of my life because my reputation was at stake. Had this case not been cracked, charge-sheeted and brought to logical conclusion, all that I had done in my professional career would have been negated," the 66-year-old retired IPS officer said.

"....everyone wanted my resignation and everyone wanted me to quit. All this happened because I came forward to take the brunt on myself," he said.

Kumar said the idea was to insulate the investigation team and therefore, "I took all the pressures on myself and fortunately God has been more kind and I am happy that it has come to a successful closure and the guilty have been punished with the most severe punishment."

The former police commissioner, however, said that the politics behind the unfortunate case was "a bit too much" which mainly aggravated because of differences between the then chief minister and the then Lt Governor.

"When the then chief minister (Sheila Dikshit) called for my resignation, it was a cue to media to toe the line and target me. However, the then LG (Tajinder Khanna) extended all-out support to me because he was convinced that we are not wrong," Kumar, flanked by his wife Malini and daughter Ankita, said.

"So I decided to take on the world and face the criticism because somewhere I was very sure that we have done nothing wrong and we are on right track as far as investigation is concerned," he said.

Kumar, who has written two books so far, has dedicated a chapter 'night of shame' in his book 'Khakhi Files'. The other book written by him is 'Dial D for Don'.

The four men -- Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) -- convicted for the 2012 gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who later came to be known as 'Nirbhaya', were hanged at 5.30 am inside Delhi's Tihar Jail.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 20 2020. 13:08 IST