Rakesh Maria says sorry over Ankit's performance at police event

Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria today admitted that inclusion of a performance by the playback singer Ankit Tiwari, who is facing a rape case, at an event organised by the city police last week was a mistake.

Mumbai: Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria today admitted that inclusion of a performance by the playback singer Ankit Tiwari, who is facing a rape case, at an event organised by the city police last week was a mistake.

"We are sorry; I admit it was a mistake. It has happened inadvertently," said Maria, speaking about Tiwari's performance at 'Umang-2015' program on Saturday night.

Several Bollywood stars perform for the men and women in uniform at this event every year. However, Tiwari's presence on the stage raised eyebrows as the 25-year-old singer is facing a rape case and he had been arrested in the case too.

State Congress lambasted the BJP-led government over the issue.

Maria said it was the event management company which planned the content of the program and not the police officials.

"We had told the company that we do not want any controversy or controversial people at Umang. They take care of the content of the programme. There were certain names which we told them not to include in the list of performers so that there should not be any controversy. However, unfortunately this has happened," he said.

"Upon seeing him on the stage, it immediately struck us that he was facing a police case. His performance was stopped after a while," Maria added.
Tiwari, along with his co-performer, sung a number from the soon-to-be released film 'Alone' at the event.

In May last year, Tiwari was arrested for allegedly raping his girlfriend on several occasions after promising to marry her. His brother Ankur was also arrested for allegedly threatening to harm the victim if she made the issue public.

Later, both the brothers got bail.

The police commissioner, however refuted the reports that the program continued beyond the deadline of midnight.

"The event ended five minutes before midnight. There were dozens of artists who wanted to perform but could not as I told my colleagues not to stretch the event beyond midnight," he said.

Another officer said Ankit's performance would be edited out when the program would be telecast.

Opposition Congress targeted BJP over the issue. "Nothing more can be expected from the BJP, which had spoken of sensitivity towards crime against women and promised strong action against rape-accused during the elections," party spokesman Sachin Sawant said.

"Even at the Centre, the BJP has refused to take action against a rape-accused minister," Sawant added.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and several police officers including Maria attended the program on Saturday. Fadnavis (who also holds the home portfolio) had however left when Tiwari performed.