The wolves in Khaki clothing


Some caught in the act, others caught in allegations

The pandemic has put a tremendous strain on Khaki but some black sheep in the department have left a huge stain on it.

Incidents of extortion in the refugee camps of Kempapura in Dasarahalli have thrown up the likelihood of involvement of police officials. Although officers maintain that everybody who commits a crime in Khaki and claims to be from the department need not necessarily be one, recent similar incidents (like the one in Siddapura where labourers’ mobiles were snatched for extortion which led to the suspension of Shivajinagar head constable Syed Shamiulla as he was the alleged mastermind; or the jewellery shop heist in Nagarthpet in which two constables were involved) give credence to the allegations.

Last month, a group of men who claimed to be policemen in muftis came to the refugee camp of Rohingyas in Kempapura and picked up six men. They were hand-cuffed and shoved into two cars (not police vehicles); the complainant — 41-year-old Karimullah, alleged that one of the men was wearing a police uniform.

“All the six, including my 17-year-old brother Muhibullah, were accused of theft and other petty crimes and were taken in a white and red car by the men in mufti accompanied by a few Bangladeshi men who claimed to be police informers,”Karimullah said in his complaint to the Amruthahalli police station.

Every constable could have such allegations against them. We enquire into every complaint through (multiple) sources. If we find a policeman is at fault, we initiate punitive action against them

–D Devaraj, DCP (Whitefield)

He said that on October 31, at least seven men had visited the Rohingya refugee camp in two cars and physically assaulted the residents demanding ‘hafta’ of Rs 500 from each family. “When we refused to pay, they assaulted us physically and stole our mobile phones, cash and jewellery,” he alleged, adding that the assaulters claimed they were taking six men — Anwar, Mujibullah, Dilawar, Hussain, Zakir and Zubair — to the Kadugodi police station. He also gave names of the named camp residents who were assaulted.

A pregnant woman was also beaten up when she tried to save her husband, Mohammad Arif. Four other women were also assaulted when they came to their husbands rescue.

“The men stole eight mobile phones, took away Rs 40,000 in cash, one gold chain, a tarpaulin and even rations. We paid Rs 2 lakh to the men after they called us asking for Rs 10 lakh for the release of the six men; they said they would foist cases on them if we refused to pay up. We took loans from scrap dealers and paid up,” Karimullah told Bangalore Mirror.

“But even after we paid up, they did not release the six men and this is why we approached the Amruthahalli police station,” he continued.

Karimullah claimed that inquiries by Amruthahalli police revealed that the six men had been picked up by the crime branch policemen from Kadugodi. After the intervention of the Amruthahalli police, the Kadugodi police officials accepted that they had indeed picked up the men and were releasing them since there was no evidence against them.

“Three men were released on November 1, two the next day but one is still missing,” said Karimullah.

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DCP Whitefield Devaraj confirmed that that the men were picked up by the Kadugodi police and their statements were recorded under CrPC section 169 (which deals with the release of an accused when evidence against them is deficient).

“While one of the men escaped from custody, the remaining five assured us that they would let the police know once he comes back so we let them go,” he said.

ST Ramesh, former head of the state police force, said: “An unscrupulous government official or a police officer would like to exploit every situation. Marginalised Rohingyas or Banglade­shis who are extremely vulnerable are exploited and money extorted from them. For this, extremely tight supervision, a grievance redressal mechanism by senior officials should be practised at all police stations. The police should be accessible to everyone, including Rohingyas and Bangaldeshis as police are for everyone, more so for the poor, voiceless and marginalised people.”

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Case of the missing gold

What happens if somebody’s house is burgled and gold and jewellery — lots of it — is stolen? Police are supposed to nab the criminals and recover the booty from them; if it has been sold off, they are supposed to trace where it was disposed and make recoveries. So what would one supect if a gold thief is nabbed but the recovery is just one-twelfth of the claimed amount? Yes. Leakage.

Jinu Jose, a resident of K Channsandra in Kalkere, lost 246 grams of gold worth over Rs 11 lakh when he locked his hom and went to Kerala on October 25 for his brother-in-law’s surgery.

When Jose returned home, on November 17, he noticed that his front door was ajar. Within five days of reporting the theft to the Ramamurthy Nagar police station, the Thalaghattapura police chanced upon two criminals for the burglary.

“Though the burglar accepted in front of me and the cops that he had taken away the gold jewellry from my house, the Thalaghattapura police said they could recover only 20 grams and would return only 9 grams of gold to me,” Jose said.

Thalaghattapura police also told Jose that he could follow up with his jurisdictional Ramamurthy Nagar police who could obtain further custody of the accused, interrogate him, take him to the spots where he had committed offences and recover the stolen booty. When Jose checked with Ramamurthy Nagar police inspector Sathish, the SHO told him that 20 grams was all that they could recover ‘legally’ from the accused.

When Bangalore Mirror contacted Inspector Sathish, he said that they would investigate. Jose, however, has lost hope and says he has a fair idea why his ancestral gold will perhaps never come back. His condition is similar to that of KV Govindu whose house in TC Palya (KR Puram) was broken into in April. “Gold ornaments and expensive watches worth more than 11 lakh were stolen from my house. I am in touch with the KR Puram police on a regular basis and they have even taken Rs 6000 from me until now, but there is no news about where my family jewellery has gone,” the 53-year-old astrologer told Bangalore Mirror.



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Sagar Biswas

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