Though all seven stolen buffaloes of urban development minister Azam Khan were recovered by Monday, three Uttar Pradesh police officers have been sent back to reserve police lines for ‘dereliction of duty’.
Ekta Tiraha police station in-charge, sub-inspector Sunil Kumar, and constables Ajay and Vipin have been sent to the police lines. The police station covers the Mandakini chowk area where the minister’s cattle house is located.
Repeated attempts by HT to contact SSP Sadhna Goswami went unanswered.
The massive hunt, led by SSP Sadhna Goswami, for the minister’s buffaloes — complete with sniffer dogs — caught media attention on Saturday and put in focus the ‘personal staff’ role played by the state police when it comes to UP MLAs and MPs.
But this isn’t the first time the state police has been used by a minster or an MLA for personal deeds.
A home department officer said 6,000 police officers are attached to politicians of the Congress, BJP, BSP, SP, RLD and even members of smaller parties like Apna Dal, Peace Party and Qaumi Ekta Dal. UP spends Rs 22 crore a year to pay their salary and allowances. But what do these officers do?
Some of the cops deputed to ministers and MLAs told the Hindustan Times that rather than providing security they do odd jobs like take the politicians’ family members to the shops.
DS Chauhan, an arms training instructor to the recruits, was appointed as a ‘gunner’ to a SP MLA. He’s now busy shopping for vegetables and carrying gas cylinders.
“I am forced to do domestic work at the MLA’s residence. I don’t get calls to do training or provide training. My service revolver is rusting,” said Chauhan
In another case constables assisted former BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari in kidnapping PWD engineer Manoj Gupta in 2008. Gupta was later killed by Tiwari and his body was dumped near Dibiyapur police station. In 2011, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court gave life term to SHO Hoshiyar Singh as well as constables Pal Singh and Gajraj Singh.
There was a furor, also in 2011, when a DSP-rank officer was seen cleaning dust off the then CM Mayawati’s shoes.
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And while the state police was busy looking for buffaloes, Shamshi Khan, a resident of Ganj area in Rampur, has been running from pillar to post to get back R40 lakh looted by dacoits in November 2013. “I have lodged an FIR but the police have not arrested the culprits nor recovered the looted amount,” he rued.
But there are attempts to stop politicians from using the police as their personal force. The home department officer said that instructions have been given to the cops not to work as personal staff of the politicians. Meanwhile, state DGP Rizwan Ahmad said the cops have been told to refurbish their image and work as a ‘common people police force’.