Tightening the noose around the state machinery keeping the upcoming assembly polls in Punjab in mind, the Election Commission (EC) has asked the police department to file a report on the number of re-arrests of criminals who escaped police custody/jails in the past one year.
In a communiqué sent to director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora last week, an additional chief electoral-rank officer of the EC has sought “the status of any inquiries conducted in all these cases and the accountability fixed”.
In the past one year, 47 criminals escaped in 43 incidents, including the sensational high-security jailbreak in Nabha last month in which five inmates, including a terrorist, had escaped.
The criminals at large are seen a threat to the peaceful conduct of polls. Of the 43 cases, most of the criminals fled when they were being taken for court hearings.
It also demanded a report on action taken against those responsible behind these escapes.
The highest number of cases were reported from Amritsar (10), followed by Moga (6), Patiala (5), Hoshiarpur (4) and Ferozepur (3). Two incidents each were reported from Nawanshahr, Bathinda, Faridkot and Tarn Taran districts with Jalandhar, Sangrur, Mohali, Ludhiana, Mansa, Kapurthala and Muktsar reporting one each case each in the past one year. Of all these escapes, police have made re-arrest just in one case.
“This exercise would activate the police machinery. When the police launch a crackdown on criminals it will restore a sense of security among the electorate,” said Punjab chief electoral officer VK Singh.
Print diaries, calendars with EC nod, govt told
The EC on Monday asked the Punjab government to print diaries and calendars only after getting its approval.
Every year, the government prints about 15,000 calendars and diaries circulated in all offices, among government staff, MLAs and ministers. The estimated cost of this is about Rs 1 crore.
These calendars carry pictures of chief minister, deputy CM and other senior ministers of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and its coalition partner BJP. Once the model code of conduct comes into effect, government offices will be directed to cover the pictures of state functionaries on these calendars.