Richie Mehta's Delhi Crime captures the sheer horror of the tragic night of 16th December 2012 that etched horror in the psyche of the nation by the virtue of its monstrosity. It is a memoir to the victim of the heinous crime from the perspective of the Delhi Police, capturing the detailed investigation.
The protagonist of Delhi Crime is Shefali Shah's character Vartika Chaturvedi, based on the erstwhile DCP South, Chhaya Sharma.
The case that was solved in a record time of 5 days, with all the perpetrators under custody, was handled by a team of 41 police offers, spearheaded by Chhaya Sharma. The series follows their investigation.
Shefali Shah met Chhaya to prepare for her role. According to Scroll, she says,
She was someone who chose to fight for Nirbhaya and all the women. I had the honour of interacting with her, understanding how it works and what was going on in her mind. All of that went into creating Vartika. I then added my interpretation to it.
Vartika's character in the show is defined by her extreme efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, her ability to empathise with the victim and the situation, and her code of conduct to do right by the case and not deploy unlawful tactics to solve it. Her encounter with the victim and the perpetrators is full of passion and anger respectively, and as a woman, she's sensitive to the intricacies of the case.
But who was the real-life warrior who saw this case to justice?
Chhaya Sharma was the DCP (South) of Delhi Police when the tragic incident happened. She is from the IPS batch of 1999 and graduated in Economics from Delhi University in 1993.
In a conversation with The Quint, Chhaya said she can't forget the night of 16 December-
The first initial reaction to having met the victim, the family and then hearing what the doctors had to tell me about the nature of her injuries was horrific.
Talking about the macabre nature of the injuries inflicted on Jyoti Singh, she says,
The injuries that the lady suffered were not the injuries that a normal rape victim would suffer. Rape as such is a heinous crime but with those kinds of injuries they just made it more macabre.
Chhaya along with her team was able to crack the case without any major leads and vague details like a white bus with yellow curtains and red seats. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. To solve this 'blind' case, Chhaya constantly added and modified her research-
When we got a list from RTO, we found out there were 370 buses registered only in Delhi. Whereas, if you counted the number of buses in Gurgaon and UP it would have been a bigger number. So for us, it was like looking for a needle in the haystack. So whatever clues we kept getting we kept adding and modified our search. A lot of things started falling in place and slowly we landed at the conclusion.
Talking about Jyoti Singh, Chhaya said she got the impression that she was very brave and clearly narrated to her how everything went down that unfortunate night.
Jyoti's lucid description helped in cracking a lot of tiny details of the case.
She was a very courageous woman who was very clear in her thinking process. Inspite of the trauma that she was going through she was able to speak and narrate the incident and was very confident.
Chhaya's dedication and commitment to the case was instrumental in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Shefali Shah, in an interview with PTI said that only a woman officer could have solved the Nirbhaya case so quickly-
All the case had was scattered leads but I don't think she let herself believe for a moment that it's not going to happen. All she wanted to do was crack the case in the fastest way possible.
In an interview with Scroll she says that she feels lucky to play her onscreen.
Born and brought up in Delhi, Chhaya Sharma has the city in her heart. When not wonder woman-ing her way through crime in the city, she loves to shop at Sarojini Nagar and have chaat in Bengali Market-
In a conversation with Millennium Post, she says,
As a cop, I can say that Delhi has the best infrastructure, best policing practices, and outstandingly diligent and passionate team members to work with. The courts are a delight. And as a woman, I can say that I love shopping in Sarojini Nagar market and have the chaat in Bengali market. It is a place to be for the young and happening.
The 2012 rape case is one of the five cases that are etched in the consciousness of Chhaya. Other four being- the baby Falak case, the bank heist in Defence Colony, the Ponty Chaddha case and the arrest of Namdhari, and the Deepak Bharadwaj murder.