33 cases of extortion–blackmail by cops in a year; Tip of iceberg, say human rights groups
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 3: For Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam Police may be one the best forces in the country, but the State Police Accountability Commission has given a poor report card to the force.
Police in Assam have extorted, blackmailed, detained people arbitrarily and failed to register FIRs, according to the commission’s latest report.
The report also says police in many cases violated Supreme Court guidelines while dealing with cases.
During the year 2013, a total of 93 cases of serious misconduct by police have been registered by the commission.
Of these, 36 cases were that of “delay in registration of FIRs as well as iction after registration of the complaint”.
What is worse, 33 cases of blackmailing and extortion were registered against police officials by the commission.
There were 17 cases in which the police did not register an FIR at all.
Human rights groups, however, say the figures are just the tip of the iceberg. “These are the number of cases that have reached the accountability commission. Hundreds of such cases, mostly in rural areas, go unreported,” they point out.
The commission inquired into 202 cases of police misconduct during 2013.
The commission expressed serious concern at the tardy progress in investigation of important cases pending in various police stations in the State.
“We pointed out that for various reasons, investigation of the cases is being accorded low priority, be it because of pre–occupation with law and order duties, VIP security, or operation against extremists. As a result, arrested crimils get bail due to loopholes in case diaries,” the commission’s chairman Justice DN Chowdhury said.
The commission has advised the government to accord top priority to crimil investigation by creating a separate set of highly trained police officers, who will be able to pay exclusive attention to investigation of cases.
The Supreme Court had way back in 2006, directed state governments to separate police investigation from law and order functions, but Assam has failed to do so till date.