India police deny they delayed helping rape victim

An Indian family lights candles in memory of a gang-rape victim in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. Passers-by refused to stop to help a naked, bleeding gang-rape victim after she was dumped from a bus onto a New Delhi street, and police delayed taking her to a hospital for 30 minutes, the woman's male companion said in an interview.
AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

NEW DELHI Police in New Delhi on Saturday refuted the comments made by the male companion of a gang-rape victim that police officers debated jurisdiction for 30 minutes before taking the rape victim and her friend to a hospital.

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.

Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police Vivek Gogia, however, denied the companion's assertion.

At a news conference on Saturday, Gogia said police vans reached the spot where the rape victim and her friend were dumped within three minutes of receiving the alert.

He said the police vans left the spot for hospital with the victims within 12 minutes and that time had spent in borrowing bed sheets from a neighboring 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 (pm) (1709 GMT). This time was utilized in placing the victim in the van, after organizing a bed sheet from a neighboring hotel to cover the victims. Zebra 54 brought the victims to Safdarjung Hospital at 10: 55 p.m.(1725 GMT). These findings have been ascertained through the logs generated by the multi-computer configuration global positioning system," he said.

Meanwhile, a senior opposition figure in the Indian government asked 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 the Delhi 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 bring them 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.

The 23-year-old woman died last weekend from massive internal injuries suffered during the attack.

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.