They spend their working lives to enforce the rule of law. But when it comes to implementing it, one-fourth of India’s police leadership has failed their test.
More than 850 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have failed to submit their immovable property returns to the central government by the last deadline of October 10, forcing the home ministry to put up a list of defaulters — featuring who’s who of the police leadership.
This means, one in four IPS officers did not bother to submit their returns this year. The rulebook says they should have submitted this form by January 31 every year. Nearly half-a-dozen extensions later, the home ministry had decided to put down its foot last month and put up the list on website.
Incidentally, this compares poorly as compared to the Indian Administrative Service — with whom the police officers seek parity. Only 125 IAS officers have defaulted on this list.
“It was hoped that the threat of making the list public would embarrass the senior officers to stick to the deadlines… it does not seem to have worked entirely,” a senior police officer joked, suggesting that dealing with crime and criminals helped the police have a “thicker skin”.
Topping the list are police officers from Delhi and Bihar led by their respective police chiefs, BK Gupta and Abhayanand, respectively. In case of the Agmu cadre that serves Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and union territories such as Chandigarh, 52 of the 166 officers haven’t declared their assets.
As compared to MPs, the government only requires officers to submit annual returns detailing their immovable properties. In case of other assets, they only have to keep the government posted about their acquisitions as and when a movable asset valued at more than their two months salary is bought.
But Gupta and Abhayanand are in good company with Kanwaljit Deol, the Arunachal Pradesh police chief, Brij Lal from Uttar Pradesh, Tripura police chief K Saleem Ali, Punjab police chief Anil Kaushik, Sikkim police chief Jasbir Singh, Tamil Nadu police chief K Ramanujam and the former chief of the Research & Analysis Wing KC Verma.