Within a fortnight of its launch, Pay Something, Say Something — the internal vigilance initiative started by Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik to identify corrupt officials through citizens’ complaints — has brought nine police stations under the scanner.
As part of the initiative, a complaint box was placed outside the Mumbai police commissionerate building at Crawford Market on December 13. “The basic idea was to provide the citizens a platform to voice their grievances without going through departmental procedures. It is difficult for everybody to reach me owing to the paucity of time. However, when one drops a letter directly in the complaint box, I can go through it personally and recommend immediate action,” said Patnaik adding that direct interaction would also help in gathering intelligence about the personnel in the department.
According to sources in the commissioner’s office, as many as 50 complaints have been received so far, with an average of 2-3 complaints everyday.
Most of them pertain to police inaction on cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust. “Senior citizens constitute a bulk of our complainants. It indicates the sense of empowerment they feel following the launch of the scheme,” said the officer requesting anonymity.
Unauthorised constructions, local goons, illegal liquor dens and non-cooperation of policemen are the other complaints received. “Every complaint is being looked into and grievances are being addressed,” said Patnaik who has sought reports on complaints of abetting illegalities made against five senior police inspectors. “The deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) of the respective zones will have to submit their reports within 15 days. Departmental action would be recommended on the basis of the report,” he added.
Apart from empowering the citizens to raise their voice against corrupt policemen through direct and confidential communication with the commissioner, the scheme has also assisted them in airing grievances against the rich and famous.
A case in point could be the complaint received against a Bollywood star, whose inappropriately parked vanity vans have been resulting in regular traffic snarls on a busy road in Bandra. The residents, who earlier refrained from approaching the local police, directly dropped a letter on the issue in the complaint box outside the Mumbai police commissionerate building at Crawford Market.