Business Standard

Goa top cop 'ashamed' at corruption in police force

IANS  |  Panaji 

Police chief T.N. Mohan Wednesday said he was "ashamed" at the "unacceptable levels of corruption" in the force.

The said efforts were being taken to ensure that tourists and tourism-oriented business establishments were not used as "soft targets" by policemen with extortionist tendencies.

Mohan, in a conversation with reporters at the state police headquarters, said rogue elements within the police force had even complained to "higher-ups" in the government about the crackdown against corrupt policemen.

He, however, insisted that there was no interference from the government in the department's disciplinary matters.

"I am only saying it out of genuine concern that we are not, as officers, very happy with the levels of corruption that we suspect in the police force and it takes me a lot of pain to say this, but I cannot hide (it)," he said.

"Whatever reports I am getting are not very encouraging for me to not accept that there is a level of corruption in this force," Mohan said, and insisted that not all his police officers were corrupt, but there were several 'bad eggs'.

Mohan said he was "worrying heavily" about "criminal elements" in the police force, many of whom had even complained to their political bosses about impending disciplinary action against them.

"Many a times these rogue elements have approached higher-ups in the government," he said.

However, no one from the government has put pressure on him during his nine-month tenure.

The police chief said that in order to curb corruption, police had created a special vigilance department to keep tabs on corruption within the force.

He said corrupt policemen were being tailed and personnel were dissuaded from working in civilian clothes while on official duty.

"Extortion is being perpetrated and (policemen in) civil clothes are doing it," he said.

Under the new protocol, policemen would be allowed to wear civilian clothes only after explicit permission from higher-ups and that too on a case to case basis.

These efforts along with a helpline announced by police Wednesday could help cut down policemen collecting 'hafta' (protection money), especially in the tourism belt, he said.

Mohan said that as the police chief in a tourism-oriented state, his "biggest problem" was the selective targeting of tourists and tourism-related establishments by rogue policemen for extorting money.

"Tourists are seen as soft targets. From outside on a vacation, the last thing you want is trouble with police," he said.

Mohan said tourists were also being selectively harassed by traffic personnel.

"Because of facilities built with tourists in mind like entertainment, restaurants, beaches, shacks, parlours, spas and massage parlours which are legitimate, we are finding unsavoury presence of police personnel in suspicious circumstances in these places," Mohan said.

The police chief's frank comments come at a time when the force is facing a credibility crisis, with an increasing number of policemen being accused of corruption.

First Published: Wed, November 26 2014. 19:08 IST