The sheer sight of CCTV cameras installed at several strategic locations at the Dadar railway station would certainly deter anyone with mischief on their mind. However, this does not mean that they would be caught in the act and the captured footage could be used as evidence against them in a court of law.
Close on the heels of a woman abandoning a six-month-old girl on platform six of the station, GRP officials announced that the CCTV cameras had captured footage of the woman who left the child behind.
MiD DAY approached the GRP for a copy of the footage, but returned empty-handed as the officials said that the format the copies were saved in was unsupported. According to the GRP officials, the operating systems and computers at the station are outdated and the lack of appropriate software could have potentially led to the loss of crucial evidence.
The GRP and RPF officials are entirely dependent on the SnT department when it comes to the technical aspect and maintenance and retrieval of CCTV camera footage. The department is responsible for retrieving and delivering the footage to the officials in the proper format.
According to a senior GRP official, maintenance of CCTV cameras and retrieving recorded data is handled by the SnT department and the RPF and GRP merely users of their services. SnT downloaded the footage and sent it to the GRP.
Extra copies were made on the GRP systems to be distributed to the media, where it would be used as a means to trace the woman. However, when attempts were made to access these copies on systems at the GRP Dadar station, the format was unsupported.
Senior Inspector P P Kirdat, GRP, Dadar railway station, said, “The format is not supported and cannot be accessed on GRP systems. There is no use taking it along as it will not be supported by other systems as well.”
Prabhat Kumar, GRP Commissioner (Mumbai), said the format might not be supported by the systems at GRP station and that the footage was retrieved and handed over by a different department.
When questioned about outdated GRP systems, he said, “We have requested the RPF and the technical department to get the up-gradation of all systems done and things are under process”.
Alok Bohra, RPF Commissioner (Mumbai) refused to comment on this issue.
Vinod Agrawal, senior DSP of SnT, said, “SnT’s role is only to install CCTV cameras. We have already trained the RPF personnel at every railway station on how to download a required CCTV footage. When they face technical difficulties, then we provide assistance.”
He added that the CCTV footage is in a very basic format and can be played on any media player. “I am surprised that the officials are claiming that the footage is not accessible because of outdated or incompatible format,” Agrawal said.