The Centre decided on Friday to seek a report from Gurgaon police after an HT investigation found alleged fudging of numbers by the force to show a higher success rate for a nationwide programme to rescue and rehabilitate missing minors.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked the Haryana government to institute a probe into the malpractices during implementation of Operation Muskaan (smile), a flagship programme of the home ministry launched across the country last year.
“We have taken cognizance of the HT report and we are seeking comments from the Gurgaon police commissioner on the issue,” said a home ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Gurgaon police records show they rescued 1,057 children in July last year. Twenty-seven addresses of ‘rescued’ children were found to be fake during a random check by HT.
Police have, however, refuted the findings.
As pressure mounted in the government, chief minister Mahohar Lal Khattar promised to come clean on the issue.
“I got to know about the matter after (the) HT report and I will ensure an inquiry is conducted and a report is prepared in this regard,” Khattar told HT on phone.
Additional chief secretary (home) Ram Niwas said the government will seek facts from the state police.
In a letter to the chief secretary, the NCPCR also sought a report from the state government within a month.
“We will conduct an inquiry into the entire issue as this is a serious matter. The rescue and rehabilitation of missing children should happen as per the prescribed laws as it is very clear how to take such action, and what should be the methodology,” NCPCR member Yashwant Jain said.
NCPCR chairperson Stuti Kacker described the alleged police malpractice as “unfortunate”.
“It was shocking to know that there were so many loopholes in carrying out relief and rescue of children…,” she told HT.
Director general of police KP Singh rubbished the HT report saying there are “there were no fake entries”.
Asked about the letter he had written as DGP (crime) to Gurgaon police commissioner last year objecting to “false information”, he said, “There was a lack of clarity on details of children…There was an internal problem related to accounting. It was a technical issue. There were no wrong entries.”
The letter from Singh had said, “The wrong practice has corrupted the whole data and has created doubt about the excellent honest work done by some of the units. I am afraid the Government of India will not attach credence to any such corrupted information uploaded on the portal.”
(With inputs from HTC, Delhi & Chandigarh)