The role of the city police bosses in the wake of the Garden Reach shooting incident came in for severe criticism from former top sleuths, including an ex-cop turned sitting Trinamool Congress MLA.
The stinging remarks for the most part pertained to the perceived leadership crisis in the force, with Sultan Singh, former additional director general of police, pollution control board and sitting Trinamool MLA from Bally, Howrah, saying he would not have waited for instructions from any quarters and rushed to the scene instead had he been police commissioner.
“If I were the commissioner, I would have reached the spot before the shooting was to happen. The person holding the top police post currently is inefficient. If the joint commissioner (administration) fails to move for necessary action despite being present at the scene of the crime, he ought to be punished. I think this incident comes as a classic illustration of a leadership crisis in our police administration,” Singh, who retired as ADG (PCB), told HT on Thursday.
Tapas Choudhury, a subinspector of special branch, was fatally shot while trying to rein in a college dispute over filing of nomination for union polls on Tuesday.
It was alleged that despite having intelligence inputs of a possible deterioration of law and order in the area, the sleuths looked askance and failed to mobilise requisite pre-emptive measures.
While slamming the laggardly approach of the police in the entire fracas, the former sleuths were also critical of the utterances of state urban development minister Firhad Hakim in the wake of the incident.
“A minister has authority to issue random public statements on who did or didn’t commit the crime, since the incident is currently under investigation. His was a clear attempt to influence the officers probing the crime.
This incident clearly reflects the crisis of confidence and leadership in our top police ranks,” Sandhi Mukherjee, former IPS officer who retired in 2005 as inspector-general (IG) of state intelligence branch, told HT.
Garden Reach has over the years come to acquire the rather dubious tag of a haven for criminals and anti-social elements. In 1984, then deputy commissioner of police (DC), port division, was murdered along with his security man Mokhtar Hossain, sending shockwaves across the state.
“It had taken a couple of hours for the then commissioner to lodge an FIR. Then too, the police had been slow to act. I think the latest incident would have shaken the top officers of our police and they would now press for effective measures to nip future recurrences of such incidents,” Arun Prasad Mukherjee, former director general of state police told HT.
The former sleuths also came down heavily on a section of officers seeking to oblige their political masters. Samir Ganguly, former deputy commissioner of the 8th battalion of Kolkata police said a section of officers in the police administration were busy catering to their political patrons and be in the good books of the government of the day.
“More and more of our officers are falling into this grim pattern. Such incidents will keep happening till our men in whites and khakis learn to show some spine,” Ganguly told HT.