BENGALURU: He recently assumed the mantle of the top cop of Bengaluru. City police commissioner Alok Kumar, spoke to The New Sunday Express in one of his first interviews to the media as Commissioner. In a frank chat, he opens up on challenges, table-top exercises and the recent multi-crore IMA scam.
What would be your primary area of focus?
Safety and security of the people is my first priority and the second is to keep the city moving. In all cognizable offences, grievances should be addressed at station level irrespective of the person’s class or caste. I am conducting surprise visits to police stations and have visited 10 in the past six days.
To keep the city moving, we need enough police on the streets to make people feel safe. I will ensure we put in place the Public Safety Act. Many times people shy away from complaining, that should change. 10,000 CCTV cameras by July 1 will be a big measure to help us prevent and detect crime.
Traffic and stopping of anti-social activities like meter baddi, gambling and rowdyism will also be areas of focus. More than 1.5 lakh people in the city have become victims of Ponzi scams and we’ll adopt a co-ordinated approach to this, including writing to agencies monitoring economic offences and banks for periodic checks.
Given the fact of Bengaluru’s rapid growth, are you satisfied with the strength of the police force?
Plans are being chalked out with whatever resources are available. I do not believe in sitting and waiting for resources. I don’t go by what officers tell me and believe in checking for myself. Police officers can expect surprise visits to check on performance.
Bengaluru police is quite active on social media, your views on the same?
Social media presence is important and many complaints are resolved online. But I want to dispel the notion that only social media complaints will be heard. The response must be the same for both online and offline cases.
The city police has been accused of being trigger-happy with more than 20 shootouts involving cops in 2019. Your take?
If the trigger is pressed within the framework of law, it should not be construed as trigger-happy. I will not agree to stage-managed incidents but there are so many incidents where our constables are attacked, it is demoralising. I cannot say ‘don’t use your weapon’ when they are forced to defend themselves.
What about the efficiency and convictions in cyber-crime cases which are on the upswing?
Being an IT corridor city, there is an increase in cyber-crimes definitely. Establishing eight Cyber Economic and Narcotics Stations (CENS) which are pending across the city is the solution. I am ensuring that the process happens faster.
Many names have been dragged into the IMA scam? Is there pressure on you in this case?
The case is handed over to the SIT comprised of very able officers. As far as names being dragged into the scam, we will take strict action against anybody if evidence is presented against them. Generally, in other Ponzi scams, when police approach investors to file complaints, they must come forward, this will ensure prosecution or else the accused finds it easy to escape.
Mansoor was called for an inquiry on June 6 but fled just two days after…
He was called to CCB (Central Crime Branch) for questioning after the DG and IGP gave directions to ascertain IMA’s functioning with respect to RBI queries. We did question him. We sought documents from him and asked him to come again after two days. But then he fled the country.
Your appointment as Commissioner of Police has not gone down well with many seniors who were waiting to be the next police chief?
See, to be a police commissioner you have to be an ADGP rank officer. That I am. I respect all my seniors and I am happy I have been trusted to head this police team. I don’t have any other comment on this.
Message to Bengalureans?
People should not feel that police are not part of the larger community. We are committed to their safety. We have been doing everything necessary in that regard. They should cooperate with the police.