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Transfer Committee Only on Paper

India on 30 July 2014
Location : New Delhi | Source : The Sunday Standard. Image Source: The Sunday Standard

A virtual can of worms has opened up in the Delhi Police force with more and more instances emerging of personnel who have not been shifted from their posts for years together as they kept their seniors happy doing their dirty work.

Former home secretary RK Singh had alleged that Sushilkumar Shinde’s personal staff members would often send slips of papers or text messages to Delhi Police commissioners indicating the names of candidates and their desired posting in the city.

The alleged scandal relating to transfers and postings of Delhi Police personnel came to the fore once again this May when a constable from one of the police battalions in the national capital met Commissioner of Police B S Bassi and lodged a formal complaint alleging that personal staff of a particular Joint Commissioner, whose name has been withheld, have been extorting money from colleagues to stop transfers and to ensure preferential postings.

The constable informed the commissioner that he was being victimised as he was unable to pay the bribe and was transferred out of his present posting, despite making a request to stop his posting out on compassionate grounds.

Bassi immediately stopped all transfers and postings in the force during May and June. He asked Special Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar Verma to probe the matter.

Verma, a 1979 batch IPS officer, took up the investigation into various cases of alleged corruption in Delhi Police and dug into them to get to the root cause of the problem.

The officer, sources said, found during his probe that several personnel in the Delhi Police were involved in illegal activities and a well-knit racket was operating within the force. Most of those involved in such illegal acts were continuing in the same post or unit for over a decade.

Later, 10 cases of corruption were unearthed. One of the biggest cases found in May was in the North East police district’s Nand Nagri station, where under the direction of a senior police official, the entire staff members were involved in running cricket betting rackets and other illegal activities. As a punishment, 49 personnel of the police station were transferred to the 3rd battalion in one go.

Following the probe, Verma had called a meeting of all special commissioners of police and shared the issues facing the Delhi Police, especially the corruption infesting the force due to manipulation of transfers and postings. He also sought suggestions from these officers to tackle the menace.

After the meeting, he issued a standing order on July 22 to all Delhi Police units to prepare a list of personnel, who had not been transferred in the last five years.

It was while compiling the list of such personnel by various units, senior police officials discovered that around 15,000 personnel—nearly 20 per cent of the manpower—were continuing in one location for over a decade.

When asked about such cases, Verma said once the list is prepared, there will be a major shakeup in the force.

The senior officials also found that hundreds of honest police officials in various departments had been dumped for the last one decade and were not transferred or given opportunities.

In units such as Crime Branch, Special Cell, Economics Offence Wing, Ministerial, Police Headquarters and Intelligence and Security, personnel have stayed around for decades.

While it is a Herculean task to rejig the force, many senior officers opine that this will create hurdle in the administration, as personnel’s expertise is a factor that would be a casualty if massive transfers are done.

Citing the example of Special Cell, an officer said that the personnel in the anti-terror unit need extraordinary proficiency in intelligence gathering and if those who have got trained for these special tasks are transferred out on a regular basis to other units, the anti-terror effort of the Delhi Police would suffer.

But he also complied with Verma’s idea as many “cops go rogue”.

Similarly, at the Economic Offences Wing and the Crime Branch, personnel need acumen to crack white-collar crimes and organised gangs. When the personnel, who have gained expertise in investigating such cases, get transferred within three years, the units would waste their precious time to train the personnel and not go after the criminal gangs.

There is a transfer committee in Delhi Police headed by three Special Commissioners—Administration, Vigilance and Crime—but it is believed to be only on paper.

The Delhi Police has no policy on transfers and postings and as a result, only precedent is the rule followed.

“The force needs written rules and it should be followed strictly,” a police officer, who did not wish to be named, suggested. “There are problems like discrimination, favoritism and vested interests of the police officers. Many of them are not being transferred as they are agents of senior officers,” he added.

To run the system effectively, police personnel must be transferred and that should be done on a rotational basis, giving everyone equal opportunity to serve in various units, another officer said.

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