That bribe pays a key role in getting into the police force, has been well known but never acknowledged. Union home secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai set the record straight on Monday, conceding that police recruitment in most states was "mired in corruption".
"People do not get recruited as constables or sub-inspectors unless money is paid, and therefore the first level at which you have to stop corruption is at this recruitment process," Pillai said at a function to mark the 40th anniversary of the Bureau of Police Research & Development on Monday.
The home secretary singled out the recent recruitment of 39,000 constables in Uttar Pradesh as one instance of a very transparent and a merit-based hiring.
In his lecture that saw him hold a mirror to the security establishment at various points, Pillai emphasised on police reforms, arguing that the law and order situation in the country was going to be "very turbulent" over the next few decades.
Pillai said the police force had been, "if I put it very mildly, abused and degraded". He also said training of policemen was "really not up to the mark".
He was, however, hopeful that states would be open to adopting police reforms once the central government presented the Delhi Police Bill in Parliament in the budget session.