Tarun Tejpal case Judgment: Is it a symptom or a disease?

The question on media silence, is it on account of occupational loyalty? Or Is it because it just suits the cabal?

The question on media silence, is it on account of occupational loyalty? Or Is it because it just suits the cabal?
The question on media silence, is it on account of occupational loyalty? Or Is it because it just suits the cabal?

What prompted me to write this blog is the absolute lack of purported activism from the so-called activists. A case of grant of bail to Sadhvi Pragya or the decision of a party to give her a ticket from the Bhopal parliamentary seat raised so much acrimony in the media, but now all I hear is a loud silence. I do not want to go into the legal realms of the bail as these have been well established by the relevant public institution that is the Supreme Court. But the way media and activists peddle the narrative is what raises the question… As the saying in Tamil goes “Mamiyar udaithaal mannkudam, marumagal udaithaal ponkudam (மாமியார் உடைத்தால் மண்குடம், மருமகள் உடைத்தால் பொன்குடம்)”: Meaning if the Mother-in-law breaks it is a mud pot and if the daughter-in-law breaks it is a gold pot aptly applies here.

Let us take the judgment in the first place. Times of India and several news channels have quoted from the judgment the observation of the presiding Honorable Judge that the Goa Police did not present much evidence, or had destroyed evidence etc[1]. This is a matter of official record. But not one channel has raised the questions on the act of Goa Police who have been strictured in the judgment. Is it because it just suits the cabal? Or is it a display of occupational loyalty?

In respect of the police complaints authority, one the underlying basis was the ethnic loyalty displayed by senior officers of the police while discharging their functions.

Now let us take the officers who had at the very critical initial stages of the investigation were connected with the case. The New Indian Express dated 23rd November 2013 had reported the team of officers who raided the Greater Kailash office and other residences of the then accused in New Delhi. It also mentions the name of an officer. This is also a reported record in the media[2]. He was the senior-most officer of the team albeit having come back to Delhi Police. Normally the investigation team is led by an officer of the State Police investigating the case. Here is a case where the State Police team was a Deputy Superintend of Police but the host police assigned an Additional Commissioner three-levels senior who had previously been DIG Police in Goa. We do not know this arrangement but the core investigation was with Goa Police and they should have led. The leader from the host police being three levels senior and being in all probability be a supervisory officer of the team head from the Goa Police does indicate that something about this case was not normal. The investigation hence appears botched up as observed by the Honorable Judge too.

Incidentally, his earlier tenure in Delhi was Deputy Commissioner of Police of South West District of Delhi Police. The All India Service officers of Arunachal, Goa and Union Territory do get posted in Delhi Goa as the name itself signifies. This is also a matter of official record that both these facts of his posting and the posting policy in respect of AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre officers.

On 21st September 2006, in the Prakash Singh case, the Honorable Supreme Court had given directions inter alia to the Union of India and State Government on many issues relating to police reforms. It is also a matter of record. These inter alia included setting up of police complaints authority. I am aware of this because I had filed affidavits in Supreme Court for seeking an extension of time for implementation and also updating the Honorable Court on the progress of implementation. The Affidavits were settled by Ld. Addl SG who later also became Solicitor General of India.[3]

In addition, there were also several Committees like Madhav Menon Committee or Malimath Committee etc., which had gone into police reforms in which many issues had been identified. The basket list of reforms as per Supreme Court directions was overlapping with issues considered by these Committees too. This is also a verifiable fact on record. Later the domain of updating the Supreme Court (SC) was given to the Policy and Planning Division of MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) but I had, due to my original association was conversant with the issues.

Now this observation by the Honorable Judge in the Tarun Tejpal case. Incidentally, I brought out all these facts in a Tweet yesterday for the public to come to a conclusion.

In respect of the police complaints authority, one of the underlying bases was the ethnic loyalty displayed by senior officers of the police while discharging their functions. If a Jat is posted as officer-in-charge of the district all Jats in the district will run riot while due to ethnic loyalty the officer will look the other way without booking them. The same would be the case whether it was a Jat, Yadav, Muslim, Brahmin, Jatav et al. No prejudice to any caste or community intended and all were the same all over India. Honorable SC had therefore sought to address this by suggesting a police complaints authority. Political parties again without any difference were all hence were not very comfortable with this. They were trying to scuttle this and we do not know how many states have implemented this.

P Chidambaram took over as Home Minister on Dec 01, 2008. Besides handling the aftermath of 26/11 etc., on which I do not want to comment as it is out of domain, he did take some notable initiatives on which I do not know the present status. These were dedicated domain link policing schemes like Mega-City policing, Coastal Policing desert Policing. This also can be verified as I have filed Affidavits in Supreme Court in the Soli Sorabjee Case and in Bombay High Court in the case of Sarla Parekh and others. On the issue of police complaints authority he had conferred with one NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) Chief on the eve of the CM”s conference on Internal Security, he was apprised of the burking practices by the State Police, if I recall a BPR&D (Bureau of Police Research and Development) officer correctly. Hence he conceptualized the Crime and Criminals Network Tracking System (CCTNS) and asked NCRB to develop it. He also proposed an agenda item of “Transparency in Police Recruitment“.

The underlying basis for Mega-City policing was the rise in crime graphs of 7 major cities. The then trend had shown the district had surge was also where the incumbent related above had been a DCP and on attaining Supretime Scale in IPS he was transferred. In this context since the crime rate had fallen after his transfer and take over of the charge by a lady officer who was extremely professional. That time too, the NCRB had alleged burking. We do not know the facts.

Now this officer was transferred to Goa police in 2007-2008. The first thing that happened was the Scarlett Keeling (a minor foreign national) rape case in February 2008. Was it the ethnic loyalty issue that has been explained we do not know and we do not believe because the alleged criminal has been sentenced in 2019? But these types of rapes molestations were happening in Goa[4].

Now this observation by the Honorable Judge in the Tarun Tejpal case. Incidentally, I brought out all these facts in a tweet yesterday for the public to come to a conclusion. One Times Now expert, I do not know his source but he summarily dismissed it with the comment “you are absolutely wrong on facts”. My question is the media silence – is it on account of occupational loyalty? Or is it the cabal that doesn’t want to give it the hype like the one given to maybe a Sadhvi Pragya bail or her outburst of frustration against Hemant Karkare (which I also do not justify)? A question worth a million dollars now is what is the motivation for such summary dismissal. Since a lot of unholy acrimonies were being raised which was never the intention I decided to delete the tweets.

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] Goa cops destroyed proof in Tarun Tejpal case: CourtMay 26, 2021, ToI

[2] Tehelka LIVE: Tejpal may be taken to hotel where incident occurredDec 03, 2013, First Post

[3] Prakash Singh & Ors vs Union Of India And Ors on 22 September, 2006 – Indian Kanoon

[4] Scarlett Keeling: Man jailed for killing and sexually assaulting teen in GoaJul 19, 2019, BBC.com

RVS Mani is a former Under Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and author of the book Hindu 'Terror: Insider Account of Ministry of Home Affairs 2006-2010'
RV Subramani (RVS Mani)

1 COMMENT

  1. It is not only Scarlett Keeling case that has suffered of the faulty police investigation in Goa. My nephew Felix Dahl’s murder case 6 years ago was handled in similar manner by the police. Since then we have researched and talked with many families of victims that have died in Goa. The non investigation and cover up done by the police with all the cases hold the same pattern. The main aim seems to be to save the image of Goa as a safe holiday destination at all cost, regardless of leaving the killers walking free and no justice to the families. This systematic non investigating, destroying any evidence and covering up done by the Goa police qualify as a human rights violation.

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