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Police rebut rescue delay charge with GPS

Jan. 5: Delhi police today denied the allegations made by the male friend of the December 16 bus rape victim, saying a police van had reached a hospital carrying him and the victim within 34 minutes of receiving the distress call.

The friend had told Zee News last night that the police had arrived after 45 minutes and then wasted precious time arguing over jurisdictional area, adding that prompter action might perhaps have helped save the victim who died 13 days later.

Here’s the point-by-point rebuttal attempted by joint commissioner (southwest) Vivek Gogia, who said the times and locations of the police control room (PCR) vans had been ascertained through logs generated by the global positioning system (GPS).

Friend: The police vans arrived after 45 minutes and wasted more time (debating jurisdiction).

Police: Two rescue vans reached the spot within six and eight minutes of receiving the first distress call.

Gogia said the police control room received the first call at 10:21:35pm on the emergency number 100 about a man and a woman lying bleeding on a road, and broadcast it to police vans.

“Two PCR vans, E47 and Z54, reached the spot at 10:27:43pm and 10:29:29pm, respectively. The victim and her friend were taken into Z54, which left the spot at 10:39:30pm for Safdarjung Hospital. The van reached the hospital at 10:55:50pm and they were handed over to hospital staff,” he said.

Clinical psychologists suggested one possible explanation for the inconsistencies between the two accounts: trauma victims sometimes have subjective experiences where time seems to stretch.

“A severely traumatic event can give rise to a subjective sense of a prolonged period of time,” said Vandana Prakash, senior consultant with a Noida hospital. “In the intensity of emotions and trauma, five minutes may seem like 15 minutes.”

Friend: Three PCR vans reached the spot (all of them after 45 minutes).

Police: Only two PCR vans reached the scene. “I don’t know why he is claiming that three vans reached the spot,” Gogia said.

Friend: The police vans argued over which police station had jurisdiction over the case.

Police: There was no bickering over jurisdiction. “PCR vans function directly under the police control room and not under any police station,” Gogia said.

He said that after a PCR van took the duo to the nearest hospital, the constable on duty at the hospital called the police station concerned.

Friend: Nobody, not even the police, gave the duo — thrown out naked from the moving bus after the assault —any clothes.

Police: After reaching the spot, police personnel arranged a bed sheet for them from a nearby hotel.

Friend: I had to carry the bleeding victim to the police van on my own because the police didn’t help.

Police: No clear answer. “I do not know under what mental condition he (the friend) is saying all this. He must be in trauma,” Gogia said.

Friend: The police should have taken us to Fortis or Apollo Hospitals for better treatment.

Police: The injured in such cases are taken to a designated government hospital for medico-legal examination.

Safdarjung Hospital is about 4km from the crime scene, while Fortis and Apollo are farther away.

On remarks by the victim’s friend that the police should not have patted themselves for arresting the accused, Gogia said the force was not seeking praise or appreciation.

“We performed our duty and have now disclosed the information so that people get to know about our response after receiving the distress call.”

A critical care specialist said it would be impossible to rule whether an earlier transfer to an emergency room could have saved the victim’s life but added: “Early, timely help is always good.”

“In trauma, the first hour is the golden hour; the first ten minutes, the platinum 10 minutes,” said Rajesh Pande, director of critical care medicine at a Delhi hospital.

“In this case, given the nature of her injuries, an earlier transfer could have meant lower blood loss and less exposure to cold, and both these factors could have reduced the risk of complications that emerged later.”