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Police theory: Better safe than sorry

delhi Updated: Jul 05, 2008 01:01 IST
Ravi Bajpai
Ravi Bajpai
Hindustan Times
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You would think a police station is a safe place to store stolen goods recovered from goons, or other valuable items that relate to an ongoing court case.

Well, Delhi Police top brass certainly doesn't seem sure about it. In a first, Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal has decided to split into two the existing malkhana (a room where stolen and other goods, including guns, are stored) in all the police stations to ensure “better security” of costly items, ostensibly from his own men.

Till now each malkhana had one Moharrir (Head Constable) who checked that no one, not even policemen, fiddled with stored goods unnecessarily, forget about any outsider gaining access here. But two months back smuggled gold biscuits seized and kept in the malkhana at the Karol Bagh police station went missing.

The new order that is already in effect since July 1, dictates that each police station will have two malkhanas. One dedicated for government property like barricades, guns and bullets used by police in enforcing law and order everyday; and the other for case property like jewellery, cash or electronics that are part of an ongoing investigation. An independent room for case property, however, is not a sufficient security solution, feels Dadwal, who doesn’t want to leave “any scope of it being lost or stolen by some other person or official who may be his (caretaker’s) munshi or a temporary charge holder”.

For this, Dadwal has asked malkhana caretakers to invariably keep costlier and important items in a “separate chest or locker or almirah”. Previously, all properties related to a particular case were kept locked in one cupboard.

But now malkhana caretakers will identify costly items and take the police station in-charge’s approval before classifying them as expensive, the order states.

“We will purchase new lockers for every police station to keep costly goods. It is still not decided if these lockers would be operated manually or digitally,” said a senior police officer.

There’s more. Dadwal has categorically said that the caretaker will keep with him the keys to the special locker and “he shall not hand it over to any other personnel, including his munshis”.

In addition to the bi-yearly inspection of malkhanas, the Commissioner has also instituted a new yearly inspection that would be carried out by an officer nominated by the head of the police district.