Former Mumbai Police Commissioner and Maharashtra DGP Anami Narayan Roy speaks to The Indian Express about his experience of handling “encounter specialists” and the relationship of the police and political order in the state.
Can you elaborate your approach in dealing with rogue police officers during your tenure as the chief of Mumbai Police and Maharashtra Police?
I was brought in as the Mumbai Police commissioner at a sensitive time, soon after the Telgi scam and arrest and suspension of many police officers. The death of bomb blast accused Khwaja Yunus in police custody was another serious controversy in which Sachin Waze among others was embroiled and placed under suspension. A petition was pending in the court against multiple alleged “fake” encounter killings. I had a zero-tolerance policy for officers having any connection with the underworld/organised crime syndicates.
Once, on knowing about a cosy phone conversation between an inspector, Aslam Momin, and a member of the Dawood Ibrahim family, which was on record in one of the MCOCA case papers, I dismissed him (Momin) the same night, using powers under Article 311(2) of the Constitution in 2005. He could never come back to the service. Later, as the Maharashtra DGP, I dismissed a proposal received from Mumbai Police officer Pradeep Sharma, again using the same provision of the Constitution. All these actions I took brought great opposition for me from all quarters. I was questioned by the media and the legislature. But I remained steadfast with my actions and decisions.
Did you receive any complaint against suspended API Sachin Waze when you were the chief of Mumbai Police and Maharashtra Police? If yes, how did you deal with Waze?
I had suspended Waze in March 2004 as he had been arrested in the custodial death case of Khwaja Yunus.
As the chief of Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra DGP, how did you deal with the so called “encounter specialists” like Waze, Sharma and Daya Nayak among others in the force and what is your view on them?
The officers, known as “encounter specialists”, were very brave and had developed a strong network of informants. This surely is an asset for any police organisation. These capabilities need to be utilised in larger public interest and in achieving the organisational goals. It is the responsibility of the force leaders to ensure that these resources are not abused or misused, certainly not for any personal gains. Of course, there were complaints and incidents of misuse and abuse of the resources, which brought a bad name to individuals and the force. However, you cannot lose sight of the fact that these personnel had brought a big relief to the city when the underworld had surfaced in Mumbai big time.
How did you keep a check to ensure that alleged criminals are not killed in fake encounters?
To me, encounter is no legal term. What is popularly now understood by an encounter is the killing of a criminal/person by police. Law empowers police to use necessary force, not excluding firing, against a person/accused or suspected of having committed a crime or likely to commit a crime even causing death of a person/criminal during any police operation/action. So, my view on encounters has always been very clear and unequivocal that during any operation any police person can shoot or use the required force against any criminal, if met with violence. This can be done by any police officer. No specialists are required for this nor can it be a planned and identified.
Did any encounter specialist or politician ever contact you directly or indirectly trying to use their political influence to get plum postings in Mumbai Police or Maharashtra Police?
No encounter specialist ever approached me directly or indirectly for any posting/transfer or cancelling the same. Senior politicians have sent/made requests for certain transfers to make/cancel them. But I was very firm and ruthless about these. Transfers were all done by a committee of all senior officers, very transparently under a well-announced policy/parameters made known to all. Thereafter, there were no changes made.
I had no problems regarding this, nor had I any hesitation in saying no to any politician. Under a very professionally designed transparent policy of transfer and placement for officers, these specialists, who were working in certain posts and branches only for many years beyond permissible rules of tenures etc, were transferred to police stations and other places like all others. No special treatment was given to anyone, including those who had political or any other patronage. These were shock to some, including politicians and certain special officers but otherwise appreciated by the force. By enforcing the normal policies of the police department and govt, all special treatment was withdrawn and the larger than life profile was brought down.
During your tenure, did you come across any experience or complaints where politicians, as alleged by former police commissioner Param Bir Singh against Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, to put pressure on your subordinate officers to collect funds from hotels, bars and establishments? How did you deal with such issues?
There was no instance or occasion of any politicians making any demand, putting pressure on any police officer to collect money. The very idea is abhorrent to me. In any case, it was made very clear that no junior officer would go to any minister even if called without seeking orders/permission from the CP. It was only the CP, who could decide which officer would go for which meeting depending on the subject. So, the question raised now is completely foreign to me. I cannot really understand and respond.