Plea in HC for court-monitored CBI probe into the molestation of Gargi students

A plea was moved in the Delhi High Court on Thursday seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into the alleged molestation of students during a cultural festival at the all-women Gargi College last week.

The Supreme Court, earlier in the day, had refused to entertain the petition and had directed the petitioner, a lawyer, to move the high court.

“Why don’t you go to the Delhi High Court. If they dismiss the petition then you come here,” said a three-judge bench headed Chief Justice S A Bobde.

The bench, comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said it would like to have the advantage of Delhi HC’s view on the matter.

Hours after the apex court’s decision, the lawyer filed the petition in the high court. The petition, by advocate M.L. Sharma, has sought the preservation of all video recordings and CCTV camera footage of the college campus. It has also sought the arrest of the people behind the “planned criminal conspiracy”.

Ten people, between the ages of 18 and 25 years, were arrested by police on Wednesday in connection with the incident.

On February 6, a group of men broke into the Gargi College during the ‘Reverie’ fest and allegedly groped, harassed and molested the attendees, who claimed that security officials stood watching when the incident took place.

The incident came to light after some students took to Instagram to narrate their ordeal and alleged that security personnel did nothing to control the unruly groups. Mr. Sharma, in his plea, has alleged that it was a planned political and criminal conspiracy hatched in the backdrop of the Delhi elections and no action was taken after the incident.

“It is a clear criminal conspiracy hatched by the political party to deploy accused persons to provoke the Delhi public for effecting voting in their favor. Despite the presence of Delhi Police … on February 6, neither principal nor other state authorities tried to stop and arrest the accused persons,” the PIL claimed.

“Entire incident is being supported/protected by the state government and no action of arrest has been done till now for justice and to prosecute all accused persons therefore unless this court takes action, real political persons and accused persons will not be arrested at all,” the plea had said.

The petition further claimed that “deliberate chants of Jai Shri Ram discloses that it is a political, planned conspiracy” and blamed the chief minister of Delhi for not taking any action against the accused.

Besides the security arranged by the college, the area had Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel who were stationed there for the Assembly polls.

According to the police, a case was registered under IPC sections 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).