The Maharashtra government will adopt a ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards crime, especially crimes against women and corruption, said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday, announcing a number of measures to improve the law and order situation in the state. He said he would not tolerate indiscipline in the police force, and would make the force citizen-friendly.
“We will adopt a zero tolerance policy towards crimes against women. Even the smallest crimes against women will have to be investigated,” Fadnavis said in the state Assembly, in a debate on law and order. He said the government will set up a women’s cell in each police station of the state, to register and investigate crimes against women. This will be done in phases, and the government will try and appoint only women personnel to handle these cells. The government will request the High Court to set up more fast track courts to handle such cases.
Fadnavis said the government wants to strengthen the mechanism to deal with cyber crime, considering the projection that India will have more internet users than the US by 2015. The state will set up a Maharashtra unit of the Centre’s Cyber Emergency Response Team to curb misuse of cyberspace to commit criminal activities and incite communal passions.
Expressing unhappiness over the conviction rate of 15% in the state, Fadnavis said the system of crime detection and prosecution would be refurbished to improve the rate. Each district will have a panel of prosecutors, and legal advice will be given to investigation officers during investigations. Forensic units will be set up in each district to assist in investigations. Officers with high conviction rates will get medals.
Fadnavis, who heads the home department, said provisions of law against economic crimes would be used to curb the same. In the past few years, people have been cheated of a total of Rs9,340 crore, he said. Properties of the guilty will be attached with retrospective effect, if they cheat small investors.
The CM said he wanted the state police to be citizen-friendly and the police force will be sensitised for this. Citizen facilitation centres will be set up at district police headquarters, where citizens will get permissions and documents, such as character certificates, all in one place. Fadnavis said no indiscipline would be tolerated in the state police force.
He said there will be no political interference in the functioning of the police, and pointed out how in the previous regime, the home department had turned down Pune police commissioner’s externment order against an organised criminal gang led by one Gajanan Marne. The same gang was found involved in recent shootings and its members arrested in Navi Mumbai.