Following the Azad Maidan debacle last year, things were finally looking up for the city’s police force, after it cracked the sensational multi-crore IPL betting scandal. But instead of using the breakthrough to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public, officers at Vakola and Bandra police stations shocked the city yet again with their dubious methods, which are now the subject of a high-level probe.
The Bandra police made a mockery of their own established systems of operation, nabbing a Vakola resident on the charges of drug possession, thrashing him, and dragging him to the station — all based on the words of the 20-year-old boy’s landlord, who is now an accused in the case, and is believed to have framed the boy to evict him from his property. They barged into the boy’s house, without bothering to rope in the local Vakola cops or even keep them in the loop.
The Vakola police, on the other hand, practised the ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ policy, with not a single officer showing up in the area, even after neighbours of the victim made desperate phone calls pleading for their intervention.
The Mumbai police, which was once hailed as second only to Scotland Yard, has been plummeting new depths of internal corruption of late. In April alone, 36 cops from Nehru Nagar were suspended for taking bribes in exchange for allowing illegal constructions. And even as Police Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh asked senior officials to root out the black sheep in the force, a senior police officer and three inspectors from MRA Marg police station were accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 1 crore from three Ugandan nationals.
While Delhi has acquired the notorious sobriquet of the nation’s ‘rape’ capital, Mumbai, so far hailed as the commercial capital, is on its way to earning a new moniker — the corruption capital of the country, at least, as far as the police force is concerned.
The stature of the city’s police force has been built painstakingly over the years, and rests on the legacy left behind by martyrs like Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar and Tukaram Omble. But sadly, apathy and corruption that is rife in the force today seems to mock the sacrifices that these heroes once made for their city.
Mr Commissioner, are you listening?