Hours before the gang-rape of a 22-year old photojournalists on Thursday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had taken the Maharashtra police force to task in the half yearly annual general meeting at the police headquarters.
He rapped the police force for the rising cases of the crime against women, especially on attack on the women on local trains and also poor progress in the CCTV projects in Mumbai and Pune.
The top brass of the police force were stunned in the meeting by the earful that even did not spare home minister RR Patil, additional chief secretary Amitabh Rajan and top police officers.
Pawar said had the police force installed the CCTV surveillance network in the Pune, the killing of noted social worker Dr Narendra Dabholkar could perhaps have averted or at least have helped in nabbing the killers immediately.
He also expressed his displeasure over the failure of the high power committee headed by the chief secretary JK Banthia in installing CCTVs in Mumbai.
He took a dig at chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and said the fear of the criticism and repercussion have delayed many developmental projects. He said that the administration is needed to push the decisions courageously.
"The initial funding of Rs 30 crore of the CCTV project in Pune was released a year back. Similarly the allocation of Rs 149.78 crores for the networks in other cities is lying unutilised," he said.
Pawar also critised home minister RR Patil for having lost the command over the police force. He said the crime against the women in Mumbai, in the state and attack on the women commuters on local trains were worrisome and demeaning the image of the state.
He also rapped the senior officers from taking the credit of the success story. "Names of only senior officers are mentioned in the press note for successfully solving the cases. The lower rung police personnel play key role in investigation but they are not given their due credit," he added.
The deputy CM also asked the director general of police Sanjeev Dayal to withdraw the police protection given to VIPs, including him. He said in some cases the police protection is misused.
"In some cases, the police personnel are used for the protection of the children of the VIPs at swimming pool. There is not need of the protection if the VIPs are not into wrongdoings. P Chidambaram never took protection even during his stint as the union home minister," he said.
He was talking in response to the home minister's complaint of short staff.