Maharashtra home minister RR Patil on Thursday said a strong message had been sent out to the police force after 36 policemen were suspended on Wednesday in a bribery case. In an exclusive interview with HT, Patil, who was in Sangli, said more people should come forward and lodge complaints against illegal constructions and errant cops.
Was Wednesday's action against the policemen unprecedented?
This may be the first time in the history of our police force that so many police personnel have been suspended at one time. Not only the lower-rung policemen, but even a senior police inspector incharge of the police station has been suspended for failing in his duty of supervising his subordinates. We wanted to send out a strong message to the police force that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. If we find involvement of any senior officer in this case, we will not spare him.
Do you agree with the Mumbai police commissioner's statement that the police personnel were forced to accept the bribe?
I can't accept such a claim. Why should they accept the bribe even if somebody offers it?
Builder-police nexus is an ever-growing a menace in the city. What are you doing to stop this?
Strict action will be taken against any policeman found guilty of shielding illegal constructions. I appeal to the people of the city to come forward and register complaint against such structures. If they are worried about their identity, anonymous complaints can be registered. We expect senior police officers to act strictly and to supervise their subordinates to prevent any association with anti-social elements.
But one also needs to understand that the police can't be blamed for the rampant illegal construction as it is the responsibility of the municipal corporation to take action against them. We are bound to provide protection for the action.
It is alleged that your party's MLA from Mumbra abused officers and shielded illegal constructions.
Nobody will be spared for protecting illegal construction. As far as the Mumbra buildings are concerned, I don't think the police received any complaint of threats to the municipal or the forest staff. The complaint was made to the top forest department officials and not to the police.
The Karnataka government has lodged complaint against you under section 153-A of IPC and section 125 of People's Representative Act for an alleged hate speech. Comment.
I have not received any intimation from the Karnataka government. I think the speech was misinterpreted as it was in Marathi. I don't think there was anything objectionable in my speech. I think the idioms used in Marathi were wrongly translated by the government.