On Monday the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) arrested police sub-inspector (PSI) Sunil Gidde of Shahunagar police station, after catching him red-handed accepting a bribe of Rs 30,000 from the owner of a dumper that had rammed into a bike. The cop had asked for the bribe in exchange for settling the case.
This is not an isolated case. In a worrying trend, the number of PSIs arrested for corruption is on the rise, with 103 PSIs being arrested in the last three years in Maharashtra. Eighteen of these PSIs were in their one-year-long probation period.
The rank of PSI is of significance in the police force. In cities like Mumbai, PSIs form the first rank of officers, and are in charge of the station house, preparing all the paperwork necessary, registering cases and investigating important cases. In rural police stations where there is a shortage of officers, PSIs are in charge of the police station.
According to officials of the ACB, 103 such officers were trapped in the state since 2012 – 18 in 2012, 33 in 2013, 43 in 2014 and nine by March 6 this year.
In Mumbai, 17 PSIs have been trapped in the same period, two of whom were probationary PSIs. Of the 18 probationary PSIs who have been arrested in the state since 2012, 11 were arrested by the ACB in 2014.
A senior IPS official said the arrests show an alarming trend, as PSIs interact with people who come to the police station and are also responsible for investigations. The complaints are usually about demands for money in exchange for not arresting someone, or for going slow in investigations.
Director general of police (ACB) Praveen Dixit told HT that the ACB has spoken about this disturbing trend to authorities in police stations where such cases have been seen. “We have also informed officials who are responsible for recruitment and are also involved in the training stage, so corrective measures are taken,” he said.
Caught on the wrong foot
Arrests (2012 to March 16, 2015)
Mumbai: 17 (PSI: 15, on one-year probation: 2)
Thane: 14 (PSI: 11, on one-year probation: 3)
Pune: 17 (PSI: 13, on one-year probation: 4)
Nashik: 12 (PSI: 10, on one-year probation: 2)
Nagpur: 14 (PSI: 9, on one-year probation: 5)
Amravati: 7 (PSI: 6, on one-year probation: 1)
Aurangabad: 17 (PSI: 17)
Nanded: 5 (PSI: 4, on one-year probation: 1)
Policemen trapped by ACB:
2012: 167 policemen
2013: 237 policemen
2014: 412 policemen
2015 (Till March 20): 90
ACB part of state police:
The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) is a side posting in the state police and is headed by the second senior most director general in the state. There are two additional director general rank officers under him and there are nine regions under the ACB.
As it is a side posting, officers from the rank of police sub-inspector to deputy superintendent of police have the benefit of step promotion and extra pay.