Former Delhi Police Commissioner and Special Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, TR KAKKAR (1964 batch IPS officer, AGMUT batch) is known for being outspoken. He was the first ex-Delhi Police chief to hit out at then Delhi Police Commissioner A K Patnaik for his “inept” handling of the East Delhi communal riots during President Donald Trump’s visit to the national capital in February last year.

Kakkar had taken over as Delhi Police Commissioner in April 1997 when the morale of the force was very low in the wake of the then Connaught Place shootout in which an innocent businessman was killed by a Delhi Police Crime Branch team.

He sought to restore morale and confidence in the city police force. His team subsequently cracked the 1997 serial Delhi blasts.  In fact, Kakkar is perhaps the only Delhi Police Commissioner, who fought as an army officer before being inducted into the Indian Police Service.

He also headed the country’s premier security agency National Security Guard (NSG). After his stint with Delhi Police, he joined the Union Home Ministry as Special Secretary (Internal Security).

In an interview with VIJAY THAKUR, Kakkar spoke on the police-politician nexus brought to light by the unfolding Mumbai episode.

Excerpts:

Q. The police-politicians nexus is an open secret in the country.In states, normally there is a tacit understanding between police officials and local state leaders. However,the recent allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh are very disturbing.What is your take?

A. It is a fact that a sort of nexus has developed between police and politicians. It started taking a serious turn nearly a decade ago. Normally politicians have to get a lot of things done by police to carry on with their business of politics or to stay in politics. They use police to stay in politics. It is obvious that the police officers who were used by politicians got some favours in return.

In other words, police officers who did some illegal or dirty jobs for politicians became emboldened and started indulging in all sorts of corruption due to their political patronage. They took politicians for granted. Over a period of time, politicians also started misusing police to extort money through various kinds of loot and illegal activities.

Here, I must say all police officers are not like that. However, a majority of the police officers posted in prime positions became party to such illegal and unauthorised loot. Mumbai being a financial capital has more opportunities to extort from Bollywood, hotels, dance bars, smugglers and from those who are indulging in other nefarious activities.

Q. But is it not strange that a former Police Commissioner has levelled allegations against a state Home Minister?

A. It is really unheard of that an officer of a disciplined force accused the state Home Minister. I will not go into the merits of the case as the NIA is investigating it and must be probing all aspects. Now let’s pray that the Bombay High Court orders a CBI inquiry into the allegations made by the former Police Commissioner.

Q. Param Bir Singh has also claimed that Assistant Inspector Sachin Waze was taking instructions directly from Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.Will it not demolish the existing protocol and policing system?

A. In a police force there is a strict hierarchy. An Inspector-level officer reports to Assistant Commissioner or at the most the Deputy Commissioner-rank officer. A Police Commissioner is too big for him. In fact, an Inspector hardly gets a chance to interact with a Police Commissioner during his entire service. An Inspector interacting with the state Home Minister is unheard of.

This is really strange and reveals how deep politicians have penetrated into the police system to meet their personal desires. Waze must have been in touch with the Home Minister with or without the knowledge of the Police Commissioner to do all sorts of dirty jobs — from collecting and extorting money for his political masters…I will not go into details.

Q. Going by the previous service record of Waze, do you think he deserved such a sensitive posting in the Police Headquarters?

A. This is surprising and very serious. How come a person who had serious cases pending against him and was suspended for around 16 years, suddenly got reinstated on some flimsy ground of staff shortage? Further within days of his reinstatement, he got the most sensitive posting. What was the top brass of Mumbai Police doing?

I have no hesitation in saying that the police officer who reinstated Sachin Waze performed a cowardly duty. He did disservice to police and to the state. If for a while, I presume that police was under political pressure to reinstate Waze, the Police Commissioner (Param Bir Singh) could have transferred him to some non-sensitive posting.

Q. The former Mumbai Police Commissioner claimed he was not aware of the situation and came to know about it later.

A. It is a joke. As I said he does not deserve to be in the chair. If he was ignorant about it than he was incompetent or otherwise he was party to the crime. Only a fool will believe that an officer of the Commissioner rank could be so clueless.

A Police Commissioner gets regular information about the conduct of his subordinate officers through an inbuilt mechanism within the system. And still if the Police Commissioner claims he did not know what was happening then he was not worth his chair. I would avoid using any strong adjective against the then Mumbai Police Commissioner (Param Bir Singh), but he certainly does not deserve to hold the Commissioner’s chair.

If my subordinate is regularly interacting with the Home Minister, I would have taken strict disciplinary actions against him and would have dismissed him from service under section 311 (2) (b). I have used this provision several times against my subordinates whom I found unfit to be in a force.

Q. All these allegations have given a very bad name to the police force. How can we prevent such incidents in future?

A. There will always be black sheep in every system. To prevent repetition, the solution is simple, follow the Supreme Court guidelines on transfer and posting. The Supreme Court has issued guidelines on transfer and posting of senior rank police officers.

The guidelines say there should be a committee to appoint senior rank police officers from a panel of three incumbents. If it is followed in letter and spirit, we might not see officers like Param Bir Singh and Sachin Waze getting sensitive postings.

The present nexus might not have come to light had NIA not taken up the Antilia bomb scare case. It was only after the NIA started investigation in the case that they traced and arrested Waze. But the NIA mandate is to look into the terror angle. In case the CBI takes up a probe into the allegations of the former Commissioner, we will hear more shocking and interesting tales of Mumbai Police.