OFF THE RECORD

Butt of ridicule

Kerala police may have never gone through such a humiliating patch as in recent times. It took the murder of a prominent businessman to make skeletons tumble out of the cupboard.
First, two dreaded criminals who were with the victim when he was murdered allegedly by another gang remained untraceable for two weeks. The lookout notices issued against the well-connected duo contained their old photographs which made their identification difficult.
Second, the cops were accused of planting an ‘S’ shaped dagger in the house of the main accused who ‘admitted’ to have had stabbed the businessman. Even as a senior official briefed the media about the dagger, it was revealed that a police inspector had placed an order to make the dagger. This dagger was later ‘recovered’ from the house of the accused.
Third, when this sensational news got exposed, came a “clarification by top sources’’ that there was nothing to be stunned about. “If the murder weapon is destroyed by the perpetrators of the crime, then it is a normal practice for the cops to arrange duplicates to be presented in court as originals.’’

R Gopakumar, Thiru’puram

Food for tot

Retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi may have hung her pistol and uniform, but her concern for the policemen and their families remains undiminished. A couple of days back when she was in Patna to teach a lesson or two to the students of a local business management college, Bedi took some time off to discuss with the Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Anand Shankar about the welfare of children of lower-rung cops.
Emphasising that policemen in the rank of constables, assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors had no time to devote to their children, who remained neglected quite often, Bedi said she would love to impart computer education to such tiny tots. Her NGO — India Vision Foundation — would join hands with the Bihar police, Microsoft and a local business management college to do the needful. The Bihar DGP, in turn, promised Bedi to provide space for computer education.
Though Bedi has never served Bihar, her philanthropy was a pleasant surprise. No wonder, the first woman IPS officer of India was decorated with the Magsaysay award.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Hilsa diplomacy

As Dasara is fast approaching, the demand for hilsa, popular variety of fish eaten by Bengalis, is increasing. Knowing well Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s love for hilsa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent two box of fresh hilsa with her Foreign Minister Dipu Moni during the latter’s visit to Delhi recently.
As the tasty fish did play a good diplomacy earlier, Bangladesh has been keeping this tradition whenever there was an opportunity.
But as Manmohan Singh has stopped eating fish after heart surgery, he asked his aid to distribute the fish among officials in his office. Of course, Bengali bureaucrats grabbed the opportunity and parceled it to their homes. Indeed, free hilsa came as a relief to them as they had read a news item, a few weeks back, that a kg of hilsa was sold at Rs 1,500 in Kolkata.

Ajith Athrady, New Delhi

Power of RTI

The Right to Information (RTI) Act has empowered common man so much that it has increased his purchasing capacity.
An incident that took place in a civic agency was testimony to this. An RTI activist, who has become a known face in the agency — with his volley of questionnaires under the RTI Act — would have become a pain in the neck for the officials but still he is not satisfied with his ‘performance’.
A few weeks back, the activist met with a senior official and asked how much salary he was drawing. The officer said his take-home salary was somewhere around Rs 35,000. Instantly, the activist offered him double his take-home if he joined him and gave vital tips-off.
G Manjusainath, Bangalore

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