Commissioner of Police is a high ranking officer and since Param Bir Singh is from Indian Police Service he has passed one of the toughest competitive exams but it appears law is not the strong suit of police officers or for Param Bir Singh. He so grossly out of sync that there is no option but ot conclude that he is ignorant of law. Let me explain.
Crime Investigation in India:
Crime investigation in India is governed, inter alia, by Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. (Buy it from my commercial site here) There are three sections of CrPC involved here. These are section 154, 161 and 162. The last is Most important.
Recording of FIR:
Section 154 of CrPC mandates that police is obligated to record commission of a cognizable offence in a register of First Information Reports and then proceed to investigate.
The power to conduct preliminary investigation before registration of FIR is a limited power created by Supreme Court initially for the matters of corruption and later extended to some other limited matters. (Read more about it in my book on Criminal Investigation here)
Recording of Statement of Witnesses by police:
Section 161 permits police to record statements of the witnesses in the course of investigation (not preliminary enquiry) but it expressly prohibits police from asking witnesses to sign the statement.
Section 162 prohibits use of statement of witnesses for any purpose other than contradiction during trial. Supreme Court has used the expression that such statements should be zipped up till the trial.
Press Conference by Police Commissioner.
Now Mumbai police Commissioner had held a shamefully political Press Conference on the basis of alleged statements made under section 161 which is neither evidence nor has any value in law.
Mumbai police Commissioner has ignored the contents of FIR naming India Today inspite of the fact that FIR is a public document and has better evidentiary value because if any person lodges false FIR, that person can be prosecuted as it is a penal offence to lodge false FIR.
Mumbai Police Commissioner seems to be completely ignorant of law and is playing in the hands of politicians or India Today and perhaps Drug Mafia DALDA or whatever.
Police Commissioner may have other options and it may be gross impropriety to take sides in a TRP war between TV channels but that is besides the point. He has acted in a manner completely alien to law and a manner which poses a serious threat to rule of law in India.
If Police and Governments stop following law it will be anarchy. It is very dangerous. Very dangerous indeed.
It is unfortunate that Supreme Court has read down article 356 in such a manner that such serious transgressions by police of State are not treated as break down of Constitutional Machinery. Bengal is the other state going rogue similarly without respite.