The Maharashtra state police communications, including that of the Mumbai police, could have been hit hard on New Year’s Eve, had certain policemen managed to execute their plan of sabotaging communications from the state wireless headquarters in Pune.
Sources said this ‘rebellion’ was prompted by the wireless department’s dissatisfaction with the 50% posts lying vacant in the department, where there has been no fresh recruitment since 2005.
Minister of state for home Ranjit Patil told HT the department had received concrete intelligence about the wireless department’s plan. “The department had certain inputs on a whispering campaign, and we did whatever was needed to prevent any untoward situation.”
The group had planned to sabotage the communication network in order to send a message to senior officials and the state government, for failing to fill vacant posts and buy new equipment, said an official.
The plan was foiled owing to the timely intervention of senior officials, who not only warned the group of policemen – most of whom hold constabulary posts – but also replaced the rebelling policemen ith responsible officers holding higher ranks, at the headquarters. Officers said the officers planned to alter the frequency of the communication, which was sure to have hit communications between police personnel.
The state wireless department, which has more than 50 units across the state, oversees communication between police commissionerates in the state, including Mumbai and the district police. Tampering with the frequency could have impacted communications at a local level, said a police officer. While landline and mobile phones are extensively used in the police force, communication from wireless sets is the official form of communication, and log entries are maintained through such communication.
There are only about 750 wireless operators, while about 1,500 are required for smooth operations. There are about 350 radio mechanics, though 750 posts are sanctioned, sources said. Top police officers remained tight-lipped about the episode. Director general of police (Maharashtra) Sanjeev Dayal said, “I would not like to react to media reports.” Head of wireless department, additional director general of police (wireless) Jagan Nath, said, “I have no knowledge of the incident.”