With Jalandhar witnessing one after another crime in recent months, the police functioning has come under fire. Most crimes have occurred in broad daylight and in the heart of the city, creating fear among people.
The Monday robbery in which 10-kg gold was looted from a firm is the second such incident in broad daylight in the past three days. On Saturday, motorcycle-borne youths l ooted Rs 15 lakh from a filling station owner at gunpoint when he was entering a bank just 30 metre from BMC Chowk — a post where a number of cops are deployed.
After the attack on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Jagdish Gagneja on August 6, two additional companies of anti-riot police (ARP) with the strength of 70 cops each were posted in the city. As the local cops failed to get any clue to the accused, the state government finally handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation .
Under police commissioner Arpit Shukla, who took charge on March 31, the focus of the department seems to be on organising events for public participation. Senior cops often organise seminars and attending private functions for social causes. On the other hand, investigation into major crimes seems to have taken a backseat. After Shukla took charge, the local police have failed to trace the accused in five of eight major crimes in the city.
The response time of cops after crimes has also been poor, giving chance to the criminals to flee, admit senior officials posted in the Punjab Armed Police, on the condition of anonymity.
The evening Gagneja was attacked by motorcycle-borne miscreants, cops reached the spot late, that too after Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia called up the director general of police (DGP). Till 2am, all senior officials remained in the hospital, busy “reporting to political bosses”, raising question as to who was tracing the assailants. “Proper investigation into the case started the next morning,” said a senior cop.
On Monday, too, cops reached Manappuram Finance Company in Rama Mandi on the busy Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur highway 45 minutes after the loot and for initial half-an-hour kept calling it a normal theft. A team led by an assistant sub-inspector was sent to the crime spot, when mediapersons called up senior police officials to tell them about the gravity of the situation.