Hyderabad: The Indian Police Service is the nation’s most corrupt department, seeing an increase in corruption of 39 per cent, according to the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) 2018 report. CMS surveyed 12 public services. Transport, housing and health/hospitals registered high levels of corruption as well.
In Telangana state, 73 per cent of households experienced demand for a bribe, or had to use contacts/middlemen to avail of public services at least once during the last one year.
The survey covered 13 states, and an estimated figure of Rs 313 crore has been paid as bribe to the police department to get a complaint/FIR registered, Rs 460 crore as bribe to remove name as an accused/witness and Rs 234 crore to avoid a ticket for violating traffic rules. For 2016-17, an estimated bribe amount of Rs 1,007 crore was paid to the police, says the report.
In less than a week, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M. Bhagwat ordered an inquiry into an allegation that the Special Operations Team (SOT) had taken a bribe of Rs 4 lakh from the family of rowdy-sheeter Illyas Nawab. Nawab’s mother claimed that one Rakesh, a constable, collected Rs 4.12 lakh from them for settling a petty issue and not invoking the Preventive Detention Act.
The mother of a minor who was gang-raped complained to the Deputy Chief Minister that Kanchanbagh inspector Aijazuddin took a bribe of Rs 10,000 and tried to settle the case. Instead of investigating the case, he had pressurised her to take back the case and had asked her daughter to get married to the rapist.
Though suspension is the immediate action against corrupt officers, in a majority of cases it is revoked and cases booked by the ACB are closed as well. But, as this newspaper reported in January, the state home department had closed 10 cases filed by the ACB against police officers who were caught red-handed demanding and accepting bribes.
Mr Arvind Praveen Kumar, an anti-corruption activist, said, “The High Court in 2017 directed both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to constitute the State Security Commission (SSC) and Police Complaints Authority (PCA), following scores of petitions pertaining to police officials abusing common people. Despite the High Court’s direction, the two states have not established such agencies which will look into complaints filed against police officials.”
A majority of victims of police misuse of power succumb to the exploitation and choose not to complain. The police commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda have urged complainants to report offences at the deputy commissioner's office or the commissionerate.
Another platform to file a complaint against police corruption is the ACB. Citizens can either submit a full-fledged report backed with evidence to the ACB head office located in Banjara Hills or call the helpline 1064.