Need to stem the rot
By Maxwell Pereira
asked to recommend changes in the police a century ago while India
was still under British yoke, the Frazer Committee Report of 1902-04
threw up a revelation that “Police are corrupt and oppressive”.
One wonders why this perception has not changed even after hundred
odd years, as the nation enters the 60th year of self-rule this
a recent “consultation on police reform” in a northern
state the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative observed among
other things: “There is a complete lack of honesty…
the police system is fraught with corruption… honest police
officers are hindered in their work and treated as outcasts –
not extended cooperation by their colleagues”. Applies equally
to any state, I’d say, though it’d be unfair to tar
all with the same brush.
pained me then to receive this extract on Delhi Police from an
article in a powerful southern news daily: “…the perception
of Delhi Police in the public mind is that it can do anything
as long as you talk money – from procuring a simple licence
for two-wheelers to getting admission in schools, colleges and
even arranging marriages and organising parties! …..the
root of all evil, the prevalent corruption – shukrana, nazrana
and zabrana, the most common terms for alleged exchange of money
in Delhi police circles. Shukrana – given by people who
want to express their gratitude for favours rendered by the police;
nazrana – a gift because you occupy a certain office; while
zabrana – something taken by force”.
this background, the arrest by CBI last Friday, 11th August, of
an ACP of Delhi Police's elite Crime Branch, on charges of corruption,
deals yet another slap to wipe out a thousand good works of Delhi
Police, which can do without such adverse repeats. Reportedly,
it wasn't the ACP’s first bump for corruption. More pertinent,
despite two similar skirmishes earlier, the officer was returned
to Crime branch just this April ‘06.
The officer’s career profile is chequered – bits and
pieces emerging from sources who have brushed shoulders with him
at various stages. Old timers recall a murder case of the 80s
when the body of a woman with multiple stab injuries was fished
out of a sewer manhole in Lajpatnagar. The accused, a lawyer and
a close relative of this ACP, secured acquittal allegedly with
the active help and assistance of this officer.
for messing up the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, the two earlier
occasions when he fell foul of the government’s vigilance
set-ups are – when in 1995 he was statedly extorting money
in Panchkula (apparently, RK Sharma, the main accused in the Shivani
case was then the IG there). Later, in 2000, the CBI investigating
him for disproportionate assets reportedly found him in possession
of property worth several crores - including Hotel Ridge View
in Rajender Nagar, and several plots of land across Delhi.
between, the officer even got decorated for gallantry for an encounter
that raised eyebrows – in which kidnapper Dinesh Thakur
subsequent to arrest was shot dead while on bail, by a team of
which he was a part. This got him out-of-turn promotion to the
rank of ACP, something not taken kindly by those senior to him
in the list. It is not clear whether he was stripped of the decoration
as required per rules, or of his ad-hoc promotion, following investigations
by the CBI.
the officer’s name also featured in the ‘Team of 9
ACPs’ constituted in 2001 by the then Commissioner Ajai
Raj Sharma to scrutinise records of dismissed police personnel,
to monitor activities of tainted police officials and keep tab
recently, the celebrated columnist Kushwant Singh in his ‘Malice’
column decried ‘moral policing’ by Delhi Police following
a raid on a restaurant bar in South Delhi’s Rajdoot Hotel
alleging obscenity on the part of bar girls on the premises. The
one who conducted the raid, none other than the same ACP –
who by now, according to sources, is notorious for implicating
people in false cases with an eye on extortion.
current arrest has come in the wake of the heightened alert following
the 7/11 Mumbai blasts, the 8/10 uncovering of a plot in UK to
blow up ten or more US bound aircraft flying the Atlantic and
related arrests at London airport and elsewhere; and the US alert
to its nationals in India over likely ‘al Qaeida’
attacks on Delhi and Mumbai between 11-16 August. As part of Delhi
Police’s anti-terrorist drive checking of hotels and guesthouses
is routine. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the officer
arrested the son of an hotelier in Mahipalpur under the immoral
traffic act and allegedly demanded a bribe of 1.5 lakhs not to
oppose his bail. On being approached, the CBI laid a trap and
effected his arrest red handed while accepting part payment of
Rs.50000 through a conduit – an owner of a mall in Karol
Bagh’s Gaffar Market.
one more reason for serious misgivings within civil society about
the police: corruption, perceived to be widely prevalent. Citizens’
perception that the police leadership is indifferent to this malaise
with a tendency to shelter its rogue officers, needs to be remedied.
Any prospect of police reforms is unlikely to progress unless
the police is seen determined to control its rotten elements.
Delhi Police needs to act.
Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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