Sting operation -- a method used by investigative journalists to expose irregularities has become a tool for Delhi Police to check corrupt officials in its own department, making it the first in the country to adopt such a measure.
Delhi Police's Vigilance Branch claims to have 'snooped around' and exposed four major corruption cases involving several policemen by using various equipment to capture evidence so far this year.
"We have off late started using this method. The success rate has been satisfactory. It helps us in gathering evidence in advance before a case is registered and saves time for the legal process," Joint Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) N Dilip Kumar, who initiated the state-of-the-art method said.
Kumar, who first began conducting sting operations during his earlier stint as Additional Commissioner of Police in the Anti Corruption Branch, believes that the method has a wider ramification.
This, he said, is because it proves beyond doubt the involvement of corrupt officials, use of subordinate in collection of gratification as well as method of extortion adopted by use of official positions and helps in keeping corruption at bay.
However, the JCP is selective in his approach and choosing the 'target'.
"I always decide to go for senior officials to attack the chain of corruption. It has been my observation that corrupt officers often encourage wrong doings among their subordinates and in their department. So, by catching a big fish, we try to deter corruption in a big way," said the cop.
Explaining his strategy, Kumar said, "We keep the sting operation a secret till a case is registered and only complainant is privy to task. Hired electronic equipment is used and help of forensic science experts taken wherever needed. The procedure followed are strictly in accordance with the law.
Over 50 cases were registered in the ACB with the help of complainants and use of secret audio and video equipment, and more frequently mobile phones. Each case was worked out with a different script," the official said.
The recent sting operations carried out by Kumar have exposed illegal extraction of soil in government land at Bawana and Narela police station, in which the role of a number of policemen, including SHOs, contractors, revenue officials and others, are under investigation.
"Use of technology for recordings gave us ample time for collection of adequate evidence before a case is registered. Such quality evidence collected is so indisputably strong that the prosecution is very confident of the results of trial, when they are concluded," the JCP said.