Bureaucratic bungling may just force you to pay Rs 30 (or more) as toll every time you cross Mumbai’s entry points — for an unexplained 31 months more than originally planned.
On August 24, when south Mumbai businessman Dinesh Karia lodged a police complaint alleging three policemen had cheated him of Rs 43 lakh, the Bandra police formed teams to track them down.
After two days and over 100 man-hours of investigations, they found the ‘policemen’ didn’t exist – Karia (42) had cooked up the story to evade his creditors.
Mumbai Police says fabricated complaints like Karia’s are increasingly getting more frequent. At least 10 false complaints have been recorded in the last two months. And they are created for reasons including defaulting on loan payments, fear of being reprimanded by parents for socialising with the opposite sex, and defrauding insurance companies with claims of being looted.
Dowry harassment and domestic violence top the list of fake cases, police said, pointing out that false complaints are a strain on their already thinly stretched resources. “For us, each case is important and our men put in a lot of effort, but when the case turns out to be fake, all the effort is wasted,” said Senior Police Inspector Pradeep Suryavanshi of MIDC police station.
Yusuf Matcheswalla, professor of psychiatry at J J Hospital, attributed the rise in such cases to people trying to get out of certain situations. “Societal pressures and mistrust are the other reasons,” he said. “At times, lawyers too pressurise their clients to inflate allegations to make their case strong, especially in dowry harassment cases.”
And police officials say they have to look into a case even when their instinct indicates fraud. “Sometimes, we take complaints despite having doubts about its authenticity – because the law expects that of us,” said a senior officer requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
And the police department’s troubles don’t end after discovering a complaint is false.
“Once the case is detected to be bogus, we have to file a report and approach the court seeking prosecution of the complainant,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX), MM Prasanna. “The court then decides on the punishment — there’s no specified quantum of punishment.”