Cops or ward boys? Spot the difference

Sep 28, 2011, 07:58 IST | Vinay Dalvi
Even as citizens suffer owing to an understaffed police force, Special Inspector General R K Sahay has deployed 15 officials to watch over his father-in-law at Tata Memorial hospital; officers on duty are not pleased

Meet Special Inspector General R K Sahay. While chain snatchers, murderers, extortionists, and terrorists roam the city streets unchecked, leaving terrified and wary denizens in their wake, this high-ranking police officer has placed as many as 15 members of the acutely short-staffed police force at the beck and call of a close relative.

In-law enforcement: A police jeep can be seen stationed outside the
Tata Memorial hospital, apparently in the service of IG R K Sahay's

The privileged kin is Sahay's father-in-law, a cancer patient, who has been undergoing treatment at the TATA Memorial hospital for the past month.

Sahay is currently in charge of the statewide police wireless department. 

Sources revealed that over a period of a month, the IG has deployed an entourage of two sub-inspectors and four constables outside room no 430, located on the fourth floor of the hospital.

Since the month of August, two such teams have been rotating in two shifts outside the private room. Not content with this, the IG has also deputed a few staff members of the city's local arms unit to be at his father-in-law's service throughout the day and night.

'Are we ward boys?'
The cops deployed for this dubious duty have been strictly instructed to avoid donning their uniforms, reportedly to help the senior cop evade questions and keep controversies at bay. At all hours, a police jeep can be found stationed outside the hospital premises, earmarked for the 'special' function of ferrying the team of policemen to and from the hospital. 

The constables parked outside the hospital room appeared resigned to these duties, which they claim are beneath their station and unsuited to their profession. Some complained that they often have to perform the functions of the absentee nurses, cleaning up after the patient and assisting him to the toilet. "I am sick of this posting. This is not our job," said a constable from the wireless department of the Maharashtra police, on the
condition of anonymity.

When not performing the menial tasks of ward boys, the constables can be seen idling away their time reading newspapers and watching television in the corridors.

When MiD DAY spoke to one such disgruntled constable, he said, "Sahay Sir can't make it to the hospital on a daily basis, so we have been posted here. We have wasted an entire month standing outside this hospital room. Had I wanted to become a ward boy, I wouldn't have worked so hard to join the police force."

"Coming to the hospital every day has made me sick to the stomach. But in order to hold on to my job, I have to present myself here every day," said another constable, who was seen whiling away his time reading the newspaper.

The Other Side
When contacted, Sahay curtly said, "I cannot comment on this issue," and hung up immediately. The Additional Commissioner of Police, Brijesh Singh, who currently holds an additional charge of the local arms unit, said, "I will have to check the records to confirm this."

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