Special Cell’s heydays over, fights losing battle?
Inefficient leadership resulting in the force’s morale being at the lowest ebb. Or that of a straitjacketed force asked to fight terror with both hands tied behind its back?delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2011 02:01 IST
Inefficient leadership resulting in the force’s morale being at the lowest ebb. Or that of a straitjacketed force asked to fight terror with both hands tied behind its back?
The story of the Special Cell, the elite counter-terror unit of the Delhi Police that was once considered one of the finest in the country, is rife with controversy and the proverbial blame game – despite Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta’s stated objective of ‘resurrecting’ it alongside its (recently) less-famed counterpart, the Crime Branch.
According to senior police officer who requested anonymity, things began going downhill for the erstwhile elite investigation unit after September 13, 2008, when it lost Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma during the Batla House encounter."This was not only a big blow to the anti-terror capabilities of the cell, but there were bigger things, of a political nature, at play. There were quite a few officers in the cell who would have filled the void left by Inspector Sharma, but the top brass had decided that they would not allow any cop to acquire a larger than life image enjoyed either by Inspector Sharma or his predecessor, ACP Rajbir Singh," said a senior police officer.
By the end of 2010, however, the cell was busy nabbing interstate gangsters, including highway robbers and snatchers in addition to concentrating on catching members of banned political groups mostly hailing from northeast India.
Now, the cell not only has deputy commissioner of police-level officer, but also a joint commissioner of police under the overall supervision of a special commissioner looking after it – something which makes files as well as information from lower functionaries to the upper echelons of power next to impossible.
“With our teams made to run after petty criminals, what also added to the destruction of our intelligence infrastructure was the fact that senior officers were hesitant to give adequate source money demanded by field officer,” the officer said. With inadequate source money — it became very difficult to cultivate sources in the first place.
The problems of the Delhi Police have doubled since the National Investigation Agency (NIA) came into existence in 2009. “Our mandate has been restricted since the NIA was formed,” the officer said.