GUWAHATI: In a tangible step that may check corruption among police personnel, especially up to the level of inspector, the department has made submission of their annual asset returns mandatory. Any police official not following this rule will be deprived of some benefits, besides facing disciplinary action.
In a circular issued on October 31, 2020 in this regard, DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta instructed that all police officials up to the level of inspector will have to submit returns of their movable and immovable assets to the department annually, with immediate effect. This instruction essentially means that the police officials will have to submit their asset returns for the year 2020 also.
Corruption in the Police department, especially at the police station level, is an open secret. Over the years, there had not been any mechanism to check the menace at lower rung in the department. On the other hand, as per service rules, IPS (Indian Police Service) and APS (Assam Police Service) officers submit their property returns annually.
According to Assam Civil Service (Conduct) Rules, 1965, barring fourth grade employees if a government employee purchases anything worth over Rs 10,000 he/she has to inform it to the authority concerned, including the source of the money. However, this rule had been in the rule book only, without implementation.
Now all inspectors and sub-inspectors will have to inform their authorities if they purchase anything worth over Rs 10,000. On their part, the authority concerned will upload the information in the website of the Assam Police so as to maintain transparency.
Reacting to this stricture, a retired top police officer said, "At least this is a good initiative. Though it had been in the rule book, who cared? One can't even imagine assets amassed by a section of inspector-level officers. Where such money come from? I'm not talking of higher police officers from the rank of superintendent of police. The concept of paying money whenever one is entangled in a police station is a telltale proof that corruption is very much there at police stations."
Police officials not submitting their annual property returns to the department will face punitive measures like promotion held-up, not being allowed to go for deputation, not getting approval from higher-ups for bank loans, no issuance of NOC (no-objection certificate) for passports by higher authorities, etc. Apart from these, disciplinary action will be initiated against the officers concerned for violating the instruction.