“Women Security Is The Chief Concern” —Neeraj Kumar, Police Commissioner, Delhi
Time and time again we are shaken out of our slumbers only to see security beefing up that puts the country on red alert. It seems India has either high alert or no alert.
Crime graph in Delhi is spiraling up with heinous cases of crime hogging the limelight. It’s high time the police chief did his home work in order to revamp and tighten security.
The Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has, to an extent, kept a tight leash on the crime pulse barring a few incidents that gave the city police a sleepless night. The Police Commissioner talks about revamping the special cell, checking cyber crime and taking into account women security. He laid great emphasis on women-related crimes where he stands on zero tolerance. Above all, he talked about police stations fighting over the tussles of jurisdiction.
He sat in for the UPSC after having done his Master’s degree in chemistry. The 1976 batch IPS from AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre, he has served with the Delhi Police on various important assignments and brought about a revolutionary change in the system. When he was at the helm of the traffic police he introduced innovations like Pre Paid Taxi at Delhi’s airport. An unassuming Neeraj is both media and people friendly. But at the same time he is rather harsh on those making a mockery of the law. He unearthed many multi-crore rackets and he is a man behind banning lotteries in Delhi.
He, in the CBI, probed the serial blasts in Mumbai. The major cases like American Center attack by Aftab Ansari, serial train blasts in the wake of Babri Masjid demolition, arrest of many underworld don Dawood’s henchmen and sharpshooters, cracking the rackets of cricket punters, arrest of Jagtar Singh Tara, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Beant Singh’s assassins.
Working as Joint CP Special Cell, the most sensitive wing of Delhi Police, dealing in terror modules and dreaded and desperate criminals, he during his stint as Jt. CP Cell, neutralised many such militant outfits and crime syndicates and also liquidated hardened criminals in Delhi and on and around the periphery of the capital city. He, as Special Commissioner of Police, was hugely appreciated for managing the entire planning and execution of the police and security arrangements during the Commonwealth Games 2010.
An ardent lover of music and a voracious reader he is pressed for time but he steals time to have an interaction with reporters to brief them and take stock of what’s happening around the city.
This Stephanian who bagged President’s Police Medal for meritorious services in 1992 and again President award for his distinguish services in 1999 has given his immediate subordinates carte blanche to foster a new idea so as to make the policing more effective. In an interview to Uday India, he talks about various issues concerning Delhi Police. Excerpts:
What are the challenges ahead of you? How do you see Delhi Police?
We have got to be on our toes, the job of Delhi’s Police Commissioner is the most challenging of all police jobs. It is for a good number of reasons. Delhi is the Capital of the country where you have more focus and whatever happens here gets followed very closely by the people all over the country. Also the challenges are aplenty—combating terror, women’s safety etc. But women security is the chief concern.
Terrorist outfits have singled out Delhi as the most favourite haunt with a number of terror strikes in the past. How do you deal with it?
As I told you that there are various programmes pertaining to security and counter attacks. We are equipped to check and handle this menace. We have effective networks to foil any attempt. We focus on detection and prevention of crime.
Festive times are setting in, markets like SN, Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Khan Market and Connaught Place run packed with shoppers. This temptingly invites the terrorist operatives. How do you check it?
We step up security as and when needed, more deployment will be taken into account at such sensitive places. Besides, CCTVs will be installed so as to keep a close watch on those coming around these places. Delhi Police personnel will stand guard 24×7.
What has so far been your focus on policing Delhi?
We go up step by step as there are so many things to be taken care of with regard to safety of the people living in Delhi. We have adequate co-ordination with MNCs and BPOs where they ensure to drop their women employees at their doorstep to avoid a mishap.
What have been the changes brought about since you took over the reins from Mr Gupta? Is there any major makeover and how about the fight over jurisdiction?
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge of the Yamuna since then. Moreover, things tend to change with time. I am open to any suggestions whatsoever. MV thefts and street crime have been on the rise for quite some time. This needs to be curbed. The police have apprehended dreaded criminals since I took charge. Tussles over jurisdiction are a one off case but then it’s a serious issue to be handled cautiously.
Many friends of mine from journalist fraternity complain that you, many a time, do not take a call nor do you return the text the same way as Brijesh Gupta the former CP, did. What’s your say?
I agree. This happens running through back-to-back meetings and tight schedule. I cannot say about him, but yes I do respond.
How difficult has the task been so far when you took over the charge? How did you connect the dots?
All I’d say, so far so good. A lot is to be revised and changed in the right format in this scenario. Transparency should be maintained. Let time take its due course, things will come clear on the surface.
Neetu Solanki and Shobhit murder cases—are the police inclined to close it as blind?
Not at all… We’re still working on these two cases with more impetus. I’ve begun them afresh with different teams incorporated separately. You cannot say we are closing them. The accused will be cornered soon.
What steps have been taken to check crime against women?
As I’ve already mentioned that we keep tabs on sensitive places and deserted stretches. BPOs running in the NCRs have been instructed to be watchful while picking and dropping the women executives and making sure that they reach home safely. Drivers’ verification is vital in this regard.
Special Cell, regarded as the face of the Delhi Police, but in the recent past has succeeded only in apprehending NDPS-related criminals and other small timers. Don’t you think the Cell has fallen from grace?
I do not think so; its past track record has been exemplary. It’s nailed the most wanted. The unit is too sensitive and it’s been tracking serious crimes. The Cell is assigned only the intractable cases.
How do you take organised crime syndicates in Delhi?
There is hardly any.
Model Police station is eyewash; the reality speaks a cacophony in these model thanas. What’s your take on it?
I cannot understand this concept. Why install a model police thana, can’t we make our police a model police itself rather than making a thana a model thana, what does it mean? Mere infrastructure cannot serve the purpose.
By Syed Wajid Ali