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Dealing with organised crime in Punjab: Committee wants key changes in PCOCA

Cabinet sub-committee has recommended some changes in draft bill; once new proposals are put before the panel, it will pass it on to cabinet for giving final nod

punjab Updated: Aug 02, 2017 09:43 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
organised crime,crime in Punjab,PCOCA
“It’s going to be a good law to tackle organised crime but at the same time, our government doesn’t want it to be a draconian law for people,” Mohindra said.(Representative image )

The much-hyped Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA), a law proposed to deal with the organised crime in the state, is likely to become a reality soon with the cabinet sub-committee formed by the government asking the advocate general office to amend some objectionable clauses in the draft.

Sources said once the new proposals are put before the sub-committee, the latter will pass it on to Cabinet for giving the final nod. When the bill was tabled before the cabinet in May, it was handed over to the sub-committee, headed by health minister Brahm Mohindra, the senior-most minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government.

The sub-committee, sources said, held a meeting with the director general police (DGP), the advocate general and the additional chief secretary (home) last month to discuss the provisions in the proposed law and recommended certain changes.

Sources in the advocate general’s office said the sub-committee, after detailed discussions, ordered officials to change the original draft of the Act, in which there was a provision of making confessional statement made before the superintendent of police (SP) as admissible statement before the court.

“After thorough discussions in the meeting, it was proposed that making a confessional statement before an officer of the SP rank can be a risky proposition and it should be made before an SSP or the IG-rank officer,” an officer who attended the meeting told HT.

Another change proposed by the sub-committee was to make a provision in the Act that confessional statement made by an accused should mandatorily be verified by the court. Mohindra, when contacted, confirmed that the sub-committee has recommended the two major changes in the meeting.

“It’s going to be a good law to tackle organised crime but at the same time, our government doesn’t want it to be a draconian law for people. Checks and balances were required in the law. We have asked the officers to bring the amended proposals in the next meeting of the cabinet sub-committee that is likely to be held very soon,” said Mohindra. Sources said DGP Punjab Suresh Arora also agreed that an SSP-rank officer should record the statement of the accused.

“The statement recorded by an SSP-rank officer would go to the IG for invoking PCOCA. Thereafter, the IG would invoke the Act in a particular case only after getting permission from the additional director general of police-rank officer,” the DGP reportedly apprised the sub-committee. The sources said DGP Arora is rooting for the proposed legislation, contending that it would create a “fear of the law” among those involved in organised crimes and has started making efforts to convince the new government to make it an Act soon.

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 09:41 IST