Maharashtra Police are in news these days thanks to the politicization of the police force almost all over the country. The Maharashtra police or what is known as the Mumbai Police came into the limelight about a month ago when a Scorpio car was allegedly found parked with explosives near the house of the richest industrialists of the country Mukesh Ambani.
Before the police could proceed further in the matter, the owner of the vehicle was allegedly found murdered and this caused a great sensation in Mumbai. The political circles of Mumbai also got concerned with this happening.
The opposition led by the BJP’s former Chief Minister of Maharashtra raised a hue and cry against the incident and demanded a high-level inquiry against the State Home Minister. In the meantime, the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who belongs to the NCP transferred the police commissioner of Mumbai Parambir Singh.
Parambir Singh on his transfer to the State home guards alleged that the Home Minister had asked him to collect Rs. 100 crore every month. The senior politician and the Chief of NCP Sharad Pawar came to the rescue of the Home Minister but the BJP leadership did not accept the plea made by Sharad Pawar that the Home Minister Anil Deshmukh was in the hospital at the time of the happening of the incident.
The State police of Maharashtra ordered an inquiry into the matter. But the Centre asked the NIA (National Investigating Agency) to take over the investigation. The NIA arrested Sachin Vaze an Assistant Inspector of police on alleged charges of corruption. Sachin Vaze was attached with the Anti-terrorist squad of the Mumbai police. The NIA has recovered as many as seven luxury cars at the instance of Vaze.
The Bombay High Court has ordered a CBI inquiry into the whole matter. Anil Deshmukh approached the Supreme Court against the orders of the Bombay High Court, but the Apex Court has rejected his plea. The Shiv Sena has alleged that the Centre has adopted a vindictive attitude because of the refusal of the Shiv Sena to retain the relationship with the BJP and forming a coalition government with other parties.
JF Ribeiro who served as DGP Punjab police during the militancy and also as Commissioner Police Mumbai has expressed his concern over the alleged corruption in the police and the nexus between the police and the politicians. Ribeiro is known for his reputation as a straightforward and honest officer in the police in the country.
He carries a very high image in the police force. Sharad Pawar even suggested his name for the inquiry into the whole episode, but he refused to take up the same because of his old age. But he is very much sorry for the State of affairs developing in the police force and particularly the nexus. Ribeiro feels that force is meant to serve the people and provide justice to the oppressed which is not happening.
With the formation of the coalition governments in alliance with the regional parties, the elected representatives try to dictate their terms and the major parties succumb to the pressures of the regional parties. Sometimes, the regional parties are the majority parties and the national parties have to work as a second fiddle.
The majority party in the State legislature takes advantage of its position and acts according to its whims. This results in indiscipline as the partner party has to retain the government in power. So the process of politicization of the civil and police administration starts.
The coalition partners try to have their own officers at the helm of affairs, particularly in the districts. This leads to the alleged sale of posts of the district police Chief and further the sale of SHOs of the police station. This practice is now prevalent in almost all the States of the country because of which the corruption is increasing in the police department and the poor and innocent are deprived of justice.
The politicization of the police and civil administration has further deteriorated the level of general administration, besides resulting in the division among the senior officers. In Punjab, there is a strong division among the seniors or what is known as the top brass of the police force.
Punjab has at present ten DGP rank officers and all of them do not see eye to eye with one another. Rather they have been indulging in leg-pulling. Two DGP rank officers have even gone to the court and challenged the appointment of the present Director General of Police.
As Congress government was formed in Punjab under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, he launched a big campaign against drug trafficking which was prevailing in the state. He appointed an ADGP rank officer as head of the Special Task Force (STF) against drug peddlers.
During the campaign, the STF found some police officials involved in the drug trade and dismissed some of the police officials. One SSP rank officer was also allegedly found having links with one such police official. The inquiry against the said SSP and the police officials was entrusted to one DGP rank officer who was allegedly not provided the needed staff and the investigation was hampered.
He had to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court to seek protection and also police personnel to complete the inquiry. Thus the anti-drug campaign received a setback. Now this ADGP rank officer has gone abroad for training.
During the SAD-BJP coalition government, ‘halqa incharge’ were appointed for each Vidhan Sabha segment. Although this was an extra-judicial act, yet the Vidhan Sabha segments, SDM, and the DSP were at the mercy of the halqa incharge.
All the SHOs of the police stations virtually fell under halqa incharge and he was the real ‘master’ of the segment. Many of them were not elected MLAs but even those who had lost an election in a particular segment. Although the Amarinder Singh government did not specify the halqa in charges, the elected legislators are virtually working as halqa incharge at present.
The various Commissions including the National Police Commission headed by Mr. Dharam Vira, ICS, Criminalisation of politics report by NN Vohra and Justice JS Verma Commission reports have been sealed and not implemented to bring the desired reforms in the police setup. Who will bell the cat? Only God knows.
K S Chawla is a senior journalist based at Ludhiana.
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