KOLKATA: A police officer on duty abuses a couple, extorts money and snatches their cellphone. What’s more, he roughs up the woman and even molests her.
"Such offences attract graver penalty if the offender is a law-keeper entrusted with the job of protecting the law," said criminal lawyer Joymalya Bagchi. Yet, sergeant D K Lakra got away without facing criminal charges. Let alone be arrested, not even an FIR was lodged against Lakra. Only a departmental inquiry has been initiated against him. The harassed woman gave a written complaint. Thereafter, an inquiry was conducted and Lakra was suspended. Are police trying to shield sergeant Lakra? Or, is it a face-saving gesture by the police? Former police commissioner Tushar Talukdar felt that a criminal case should be started in such circumstances. "It is a criminal act. And since the sergeant was suspended, it is clear that the victim’s complaint was genuine," he said. Former DGP and commissioner of Kolkata Police Dinesh Vajpai said, "In such cases, preliminary inquiry is conducted. In case of grave offence and if the facts so warrant, a criminal case is started against the offender.
And if a departmental inquiry is required, that is also done." "In case of such a cognisable offence, the police are duty-bound to register an FIR and start a criminal case. Why are the police not doing that when the charges range from extortion, attempt to commit robbery and molestation?" asked Bagchi.
According to public prosecutor Ashok Bakshi, "If cognisable offence is disclosed in the complaint of a victim, the police must lodge an FIR and start a criminal case against the offender. That is the basic law." But Kolkata Police brass had no answers to why no FIR was lodged against Lakra. DC (headquarter) Anuj Sharma said, "He has been suspended. We are conducting a departmental inquiry." The fact is when the woman approached the police with her complaint, she sought stringent action against the errant police officer. But she was told that departmental action was strong enough. The other option, she was told, would be to go to court. But she was also told that it was a long-drawn process. What the victim wasn’t told was that the departmental inquiry against sergeant Lakra would be conducted by the police themselves