//Hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons

Hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons

The Hindu, Jul 01, 2006

A number of senior officials in Delhi police have recently hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, tarnishing the image of the Department, says Devesh K. Pandey

As if their repeated failure to get convictions in important cases was not enough, the image of the Delhi police has taken a beating in recent times with some of its senior officers hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The most recent case is that of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Ajay Kumar whose wife's business association with a trader arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for alleged duty evasion of crores of rupees took many by surprise. After the media highlighted the issue, Police Commissioner K. K. Paul had to ask the DRI for a report on the entire episode.

Earlier this month, a Delhi court had directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office, Rajesh Khurana, to appear before it following a complaint that he used a forged report to grab an out-of-turn allotment of official accommodation.

According to the complaint, Mr. Khurana wanted to get his existing accommodation upgraded to a D-II special category ground floor flat but his name was low in the list of applicants. As suggested by an upper division clerk of the Urban Development Ministry, Mr. Khurana cited his wife's chronic knee problem for speedy allotment on medical grounds. However, a report submitted by him was allegedly found to be forged.

The court expressed surprise that the supervisory officer in the case, of the rank of Joint Commissioner of Police, did not book Mr. Khurana despite sufficient material on hand to presume that he was involved.

Not long ago, former Deputy Commissioner of Police (Narcotics Branch) D. L. Kashyap was charged with having leaked an "illegally" tapped conversation between encounter specialist Rajbir Singh and a suspected drug-lord. Both police officers had to pay a heavy price after the incident was made public. Besides, the Central Bureau of Investigation registered a case following a court directive.

What has dealt the heaviest blow to the credibility of the police is alleged omission and commission by certain police officers that led to the acquittal of all nine accused in the Jessica Lal murder case this past February. The role of the then Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern range), Amod Kanth, Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudhir Yadav and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) Vivek Gogia has come under the scanner after Dr. Paul ordered registration of a separate case to investigate and identify the officers who indulged in fabrication and omission of records to shield the accused.

A Special Investigation Team constituted for the purpose is working diligently but no arrests have been made in the case so far.

While several police officers feel that it is a section of the media that is responsible for the "smear" campaigns against their colleagues, there are others who feel that senior officers should conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with the dignity of their posts. "If the seniors themselves get embroiled in controversies, what example will they set for their subordinates? A department where corruption is rampant will be well served without officers who do not have a clean image,'' remarked a senior officer.