Tackling organised crime: Punjab govt revives proposal to enact PCOCA | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Tackling organised crime: Punjab govt revives proposal to enact PCOCA

Government is likely to place it before cabinet for approval; the one moved by previous Akali-BJP govt last year was rejected by council of ministers

punjab Updated: May 20, 2017 09:41 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh(HT File Photo)

The Captain Amarinder Singh government has revived the proposal for the controversial Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA) to rein in gangsters who have been giving tough time to Punjab Police.

The government is likely to move the proposal before the cabinet to enact the law similar to the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). Though the previous Akali-BJP government also proposed PCOCA, it was rejected by the cabinet in July last year and was sent to the state advocate general’s office for re-examination.

Some of the ministers in the Akali-BJP government, including Madan Mohan Mittal, had objected to the original proposal of the Act under which the confessional statement made before the superintendent of police (SP) was recommended as admissible before the court. Apprehensions were raised that the Act could be misused for political vendetta.

The clause of admissible statement before the SP-rank official has now been changed to the SSP-rank official but with a rider.

“The new proposal says that an SSP-rank official would record the statement and recommend it to the DIG for invoking PCOCA. Thereafter, the DIG would invoke the Act in a particular case only after getting permission from the additional director general of police-rank official. With such checks and balances, there is hardly any scope for the misuse of the Act,” Punjab director general of police Suresh Arora told Hindustan Times.

While reviewing the police functioning on April 25, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said the state was mulling implementation of PCOCA. Source said the government may bring the proposal for discussion in the next cabinet meeting.

The DGP, who is strongly rooting for the law claiming that it would create “fear of law” among those involved in organised crime. In the recent two meetings with the chief minister over police functioning, sources said, the DGP has raised the point of having a PCOCA-like law, especially to deal with gangsters.

When contacted, senior minister in the Punjab cabinet Brahm Mohindra confirmed that the government was mulling enactment of PCOCA.

Crime figures reveal that of the 55 gangsters arrested by the police since 2012, none has been convicted. The DGP also claimed that of the 105 gangsters arrested between 1996 and 2016, only 10 were convicted. In most cases, witnesses turned hostile due to fear or a compromise was struck.

Karnataka, Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala already have similar Act to deal with organised crime.