Citizen stings turn painful for Delhi cops

India on 17 September 2014
Location : Delhi | Source : India Today. Image Source: India Today

The message on the radio channels is loud and clear: sting operations by citizens on rogue Delhi cops are welcome to deal with the menace of corruption in the force. And ever since Delhi Police's that anti-corruption advertisement began to play on the radio, citizens in Delhi are responding to it with full gusto.

In the past one month, vigilant Delhi residents have submitted 3,815 audio or video recordings to prove their allegations of corruption against Delhi Police personnel who allegedly demanded bribe. Of these, 3,800 complaints were filed with audio recordings; 15 were corroborated with video recordings.

Eight such sting operations were reported to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Delhi government. In all the cases, the citizens banked on recordings - often using mobile phone - to record the corrupt cop's conversation.

Equipped with a WhatsApp application, the Delhi Police vigilance helpline - which was launched in August - has been receiving complaints that are based on sting operations. Several such cases have come to light now. One of them involved the Station House Officer (SHO) of Roop Nagar in the Capital. A top Delhi Police officer confirmed that Roop Nagar SHO has been accused of seeking bribe from a businessman in Model Town and the allegation has been substantiated by a sting operation. To prove his allegation, the businessman had recorded the SHO's conversation in which the police officer was heard demanding bribe for probing into an alleged case of cheating. The businessman later met the Delhi Police top brass with that recording. Following his complaint, the SHO was sent to the District Lines. A departmental inquiry was also initiated against him.

A senior police officer of North district told MAIL TODAY that the complainant wanted to register a case of cheating against a retired assistant commissioner of police (ACP) of Delhi Police. The cops were initially not registering the case, till they were directed to do so by a city court. "The complainant told the police that on 21 and 27 March this year, he had complained against ACP Sudesh Kumar and his associates. But the case was not registered by the local police," the senior police officer said. What shocked the complainant was that the Roop Nagar SHO demanded bribe to probe into the case even after the court's direction.

"The vigilance helpline was started on August 6 this year for the public to file complaints against Delhi's corrupt policemen. So far, we have received a total of 23,870 complaints on our new anti-corruption helpline numbers 1064 and 9910641064, a WhatsApp helpline," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) Sindhu Pillai told Mail Today. Nine policemen in the ranks of sub-inspector, assistant sub-inspector, head constable, constable and a home guard have been booked in six cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, she said.

Pillai said each of the six registered cases was substantiated by strong evidence collected by means of technology, like audio or video recordings. Only after that the cases were registered against the rogue cops, she said. "Of these complaints, we have registered three cases against the police personnel for taking bribe from the common man after video recordings of their act were sent to the Delhi Police's vigilance helpline number 9910641064," she added. The prosecution believes that the strong evidence of recordings will nail these cops in the trial. "Four other complaints were also received by the unit where video recordings have been submitted," Pillai added. Investigation is on in these four cases.

Citing one such case, police sources said the vigilance department received a complaint against a Delhi police subinspector (SI) posted with the Timarpur police station in North Delhi. The complainant had submitted a video recording showing that the SI was demanding money. "From the video we found that the SI had gone to a spot where an accident had occurred. After reaching the spot, he asked both the parties to compromise. Later he started demanding money from both the parties to settle the matter," police sources said.

Another senior police officer told MAIL TODAY that sting operation has become a tool for Delhi Police's vigilance department to deal with corrupt police officials.

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