Good Cop, Bad Cop

It can’t be bigger than Bofors due to the sheer value, financial as well as regarding security measures, attached to the gun deal. However, the scam regarding bullet proof vests is itself a big deal.

The CBI has arrested three people, including one bribe-giver, for exposing an officer of the home ministry for taking Rs. 10 lakh.

R.K. Gupta’s company manufactures defence equipment and he feels he is being targeted because he exposed the cartel:

“This is an act of revenge. I and my wife studied at IITs. We are paying the price for blowing the lid off the scam. This is bigger than Bofors. We will have more (Hemant) Karkares if such elements are allowed to have their say in the decision-making process.”

Surprisingly, the CBI prosecutor investigating into the case, instead of expressing any views on the officials, said:

“We are not a puppet investigation agency. The CBI does not work under the MHA, and it carries on the probe independently. We have a CD of their taped conversation and this court can hear it. The accused is saying he is a whistleblower, but at the same time he was bribing the accused official.”

He could well be both. In fact, if he is the briber, then the case gets more credence. The problem is that everyone wants to sound holier-than-thou. The bullet proof vest controversy came to light after the killing of ATS chief Hemant Karkare, and more so after his widow filed a PIL.

No one can deny that those jackets were not upto the required standard, if any such standard is laid down at all. There weren’t sufficient numbers. If we want our police force to be ready and do not want a blockbuster where we have to bring in commandos, then we have to make them feel empowered.

There are, no doubt, instances of cops being the bad guys, several instances. But, there are many who want to do their jobs as best as they can. We have seen photographs of them in makeshift tents, where they did not have basic facilities and had to use the local shauchalaya even to bathe.

Just harping on coast guards is not going to take away the terror that exists everyday for the ordinary individual, especially the vulnerable segments.

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Talking of which, it was wonderful to read about Parivartan, an initiative by the Delhi Police, that has only women beat constables. A report in The Hindu quoted Sagar Preet Hooda, DCP (North), who is responsible for this:

“Police can't be everywhere, this is a mechanism to help us prevent crime against women, not just in public places but in their homes too. The beat constables are in constant touch with the colony women, they share their mobile numbers with them so that they can contact them in trouble. Women bond easily with women and that they know someone in the police gives these vulnerable women a sense of confidence to fight crime not just for them but for the neighbours too. We have cases where people complained against domestic violence in the neighbourhood and we have intervened.”

There are NGOs, but they too have to report to the police. In this case, there is direct contact and the very presence of the cops can act as a deterrent. Even more heartening is that it concentrates on the poorer localities and conducts workshops to train women in self-defence.

Let me play devil’s advocate for a bit: are these cops given the licence to shoot? Bonding is good, having authority figures around is better, but will these female constables act if necessary? Do they have weapons that work? We are informed that crime rate has reduced. Have there been any concrete examples of a rape being prevented? These vigils are in colonies and colonies have hierarchies. Do the cops get to choose their beat?

Despite these nitpicking queries, I think it is an important move, especially since domestic cases can be solved at the ground level rather than being dragged to court.

This sounds like real fast-track justice rather than the trumped up ones that the courts flaunt in celebrity cases.

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