Police in New Delhi have rejected comments made by the male companion of an Indian gang-rape victim that police officers debated jurisdiction for 30 minutes before taking the victim and her friend to a hospital.
At a news conference on Saturday, Vivek Gogia, joint commissioner of Delhi Police, said police vans had reached the spot where the rape victim and her friend were dumped within three minutes of receiving the alert.
The victim’s male companion said in an interview broadcast on Friday on Indian TV station Zee News that police delayed taking her to a hospital, after passers-by neglected to help her even though she was naked and bleeding.
The 23-year-old woman died last weekend from massive internal injuries suffered during the December 16 attack.
Gogia said the police vans left the spot for hospital with the victims within 12 minutes and that time had been spent borrowing bed sheets from a neighbouring hotel to cover the naked rape victim and her friend.
“Zebra 54 [Police response vehicle] left the spot along with the victims at 10:39 [17:09 GMT]. This time was utilised in placing the victim in the van, after organising a bed sheet from a neighbouring hotel to cover the victims,” Gogia said.
“Zebra 54 brought the victims to Safdarjung Hospital at 10:55 [17:25 GMT]. These findings have been ascertained through the logs generated by the multi-computer configuration global positioning system.”
The attack has sparked outrage and daily protests across India and led to calls for tougher rape legislation and reforms of a police culture that often blames rape victims and refuses to file charges against accused attackers.
A senior opposition figure in the Indian government asked on Saturday what kind of “teachings and training the government of India has given to its police in Delhi?”
Ravi Shankar Prasad, deputy leader of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) condemned police for the alleged delay in helping the victims.
“Saving the life of critically injured people is more important, or fighting over jurisdiction is more important?” Prasad asked.
Also on Saturday, a court asked police to produce five men accused of raping the student for pre-trial proceedings on Monday.
Police have charged them with murder, rape and other crimes that could result in the death penalty.
A sixth suspect, listed as a 17-year-old, is expected to be tried in a juvenile court, where the maximum sentence would be three years in a reform facility.