BANGALORE: Facing questions about a top policeman giving long, accusatory interviews to television channels, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday declared he would not tolerate indiscipline in the force.
Speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ event organised by the Press Club here, Siddaramaiah did not directly indicate what action his government would initiate against Dr P Ravindranath, the Additional Director-General of Police accused of clicking objectionable pictures of a woman sitting in a cafe, but said he would take “strict action against those who violate discipline”.
Siddaramaiah promised an impartial probe into the cafe incident and Ravindranath’s caste atrocity complaint against Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar. “A CID investigation is in progress,” he explained.
Denying the charge that the government had failed to handle the incident properly, he said, “It is not a failure. It is an incident in a coffee shop. As soon as we get the CID inquiry report, we will take action.” He also denied reports of infighting in the Police Department.
Meanwhile, Home Minister K J George warned that no officer, including Ravindranath, should cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’.
“There is a limit for everything. The police are a disciplined force and indiscipline will not be tolerated any longer,” he said.
Addressing a news conference on Friday, five days after the cafe incident, George said Ravindranath was no doubt a good officer, but that did not mean he could question the government’s decisions. On live television, Ravindranath had objected to his transfer from the post of ADGP (KSRP). In fact, George had called Ravindranath over for a discussion on Friday, but the police officer did not turn up.
George expects the CID to submit its report in 15-20 days. “The government is not interested in shielding any officer, but wants to know the truth,” he declared.
Two women and a retired Indian Air Force officer, Sridhar, who was present at the cafe when the incident took place, met Director-General of Police Lalrokhuma Pachuau on Friday.
They agreed to appear before the CID and give their statements. “I have directed Auradkar to give them protection if they fear threats from anyone,” George said.
The Forensic Science Laboratory in Bangalore is not equipped to verify the contents of the mobile phone seized from Ravindranath. “It will be sent elsewhere,” George said.
Asked whether Ravindranath appearing on TV channels and making allegations against another senior IPS officer would be seen as indiscipline, George said the DG&IGP had the powers to recommend a show-cause notice to any erring officer.
“If Ravindranath has violated conduct rules, it is up to the DG&IGP to take action,” he said.
George said Siddaramaiah would take a call on posting Ravindranath elsewhere.
Ravindranath was transferred out of the KSRP as he had gone to the KSRP battalion on Wednesday, just before some of its men came out on to the streets and blocked traffic for more than three hours.
“We have video clippings of a few KSRP personnel who staged a rasta roko. Disciplinary action is being initiated against them,” he said.
George said the government would not meddle in the probe in any manner. “How can a Home Minister, DG&IGP and Police Commissioner be held responsible for an incident that happened in a coffee shop?” he said.
Refuting the charge that the government had bungled, George said it had ordered a CID probe soon after Ravindranath filed an atrocity case against Auradkar, and charged DCP B R Ravikanthe Gowda and Sub-Inspector Ravindra of falsely implicating him in the cafe case.