People uncritically accept undue exercise of power by the police, including corruption, because of the “appeal” and “aura of authority” that IPS and IAS officers attract, say sociologists and lawyers. Rooted in our psyche since the days of the British, it causes a disconnect between the police and the common people. Unscrupulous elements are able to use this mindset for criminal actions from swindling to robbery and extortion.
Activists also point out that actual IPS officers themselves can be as dangerous.
Samay John Rao Chikate, an Additional SP cadre officer in charge of anti-Naxalite operations in Andhra Pradesh, was arrested in May for involvement in robbing two gold merchants of `86 lakh in Nellore district while travelling on the Navajivan Express. The robbery itself was committed by three Armed Reserve constables. Some years ago, the CBI had arrested Deshraj Singh, the 32-year-old SP (City) in Chandigarh, for allegedly accepting a bribe of `1 lakh from a 59-year-old station house officer.
In TN itself, an IG, Promod Kumar, was arrested by the CBI on the charge of conspiring to get `10-crore bribe from the accused in the Pazee scam. An IAS couple in Madhya Pradesh, Arvind and Tinoo Joshi, were found to have amassed illegal assets worth `300 crore spread across the country. Over `3 crore in cash was found in their residence during a 2010 income-tax raid. Such instances show that the public must remain wary of even “real” officers.
Their authority, is of the same nature and authoritarian hierarchy as the British officers, who acted with violence against freedom fighters and dissidents, say activists.
In free India too, undue political influence and corruption debilitate police functioning. Our police forces require modernisation and reforms, pointed out G S Venumadhava, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology and Forensic Science, Karnatak University, Dharwad. The modern police force itself is a colonial structure, he said.