Cops' in-house probes stretch into years

Cops' in-house probes stretch into years

Inquiries have a 4-month time limit, but cases are pending for 4 years

According to the statistics available with the department, 818 officers are facing departmental inquiries in the State and at least 50 to 60 per cent of these charges are three or four years old even though the stipulated period to complete such an inquiry is just four months.

The statistics reveal that among the 818 facing inquiries under major charges, 12 officers are above the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP), 45 Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), 57 inspectors, 110 sub-inspectors and 50 assistant sub-inspectors, while there are also 144 head constables and 400 constables.

Pointing out that the reasons for such pendencies, Additional Director General of Police (Administration) J V Gaonkar said: “Principally, delays are caused due to the absence of essential documents which may be seized in other DIs related to the officer.”|

Another important reason is the delay tactics employed by the charged officer who very often level accusations against the inquiry officer leading to their frequent changes. The charged officers are also known to have feigned illness or have simply refused to accept notices during proceedings.

They even approach the court or tribunal seeking stay. Some of them use their political nexus to get rid of the process. There may be a few genuine causes like absence of the key prosecution witnesses or documents, Gaonkar elaborated.

“We are in the process of settling pending DIs as soon as possible. We have also placed 198 officers under suspension pending inquiry due to severe/major charges during last two months. It would take some time,” Gaonkar said.

However, some lower rank officers facing DI point out that top brass officers have an edge over them. “They have their own lobby because of their proximity to influential politicians and get away easily. But the disciplinary authorities act very tough when the charges are against a head constable or constable,” said a sub-inspector facing charges under conditions of anonymity.

Among those who are under suspension are:  six Dy SPs, nine inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors, 23 assistant sub-inspectors, 36  head constables and 104 from the rank of constables.

As per the rule, two types of DIs can be initiated against errant police officers such as Minor Inquiry and Major Inquiry. In case of minor inquiry, a police officer can be censured by the seniors which is often considered as a ‘black mark’ in the career. This also includes non-cumulative withholding of increment, fine, extra fatigue duty etc.

But in case of major inquiry, which is invoked in case of sexual harassment at the workplace, absence from the duty for a long time without prior information, corruption and criminal activities, the guilty officer can even lose his job.

The punishment also includes cumulative withholding of increment, demotion and compulsory retirement from the job.

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