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“I’ve Never Experienced Pressure From The Ministry” — Ajay Chaudhry Additional Commissioner of Police South East District, Delhi

Updated: September 15, 2012 3:09 pm

“If someone in need comes to me hoping to be relieved of the problem, I redress his grievances and send him back with a glimmer of hope and a smile on his face. Why misuse your power? I do exactly what I am assigned to,” said a humble Ajay Chaudhry, Additional Commissioner of Police, South East District, Delhi. Absolutely, God is not sometimes everywhere that’s why he has deputed his “angels” like him.


Born on April 30, 1967, in Etah, UP and raised with values that reflect prominently in the way he carries himself with uber simplicity, Ajay comes from a middle class family where he imbibed ethical values. He studied English literature at Aligarh Muslim University, got an MBA degree with major in Human Resource HR, wrote the Civil Services and made it. The ‘96 batch IPS from the UT cadre he has long been working with the Delhi Police. He monitored policing in effective mode and very well measured himself up to the expectations of the denizens of the capital city.


Community-based policing is what Chaudhry has been vocal about and his emphasis tells quite a lot about his stint as a senior IPS and how he adapts to a given situation. Many power drunk bureaucrats are not rooted in ground realities. Leave alone meeting, they do not even take a call. Many of them are awfully busy doing nothing whereas some relish making visitors wait; on the contrary Chaudhry has planted his feet well to the ground and is open to going the extra mile. This beacon light has never entered his head, time seems to have failed to convert him. He has not changed over these years. Well-versed in urdu, Ajay has influenced many with his oratorical enunciation. He fields a volley of questions with ease. Excerpts:


Builder mafia swaying hold over the places like Okhla is thriving with a strong and blatant nexus between the police at the thana level and land sharks. What’s your take on it?

I cannot buy it. There is no room for the police establishing complicity with mafiosi. Maybe an instance or two where some sort of collusion may have been seen at the PS level but then this is a one-off incident and should not be termed a nexus. I can assure, if you spot me one you can see the result with immediate effect.

Which police station do you find most sensitive in your district and how do you manage the crime graph there?

See, all the police stations in terms of nature of crime vary as per the kind of population inhabiting the area. You must understand well the criminology of those operating there. We keep tabs on every single person particularly those lately out of JC. Tenants’ verification is a crucial aspect. You have to keep a record of POs and BCs in the area whether they are in action or silent. One should rise up to the topography of the area. We often have jan sampark sabha that helps us get to the people and their problems.


Is Delhi reeling under organised crime syndicates?         

As far as I know I can say that there is no organised crime in Delhi.


The Assam issue, the northeastern students in Jamia Milia Islamia, south Delhi Poly and other institutions, what security do you provide them?

They are a part of our country and their safety is our chief concern. We have beefed up patrolling near the colleges and institutions. We have helpline numbers 24×7. If there is anything in this context they can meet me straight off.


How do the Mewati gangs operate with impunity hopping across the hugging periphery, execute a crime and scurry across the border? What is the Modus Operandi (MO) employed by them and how do you track them down?

We have busted many such gangs in the past. Their Modus Operandi is quite peculiar as they drive in Tata 407 and Matador and go about on a looting spree. They come out in the night and lift motorbikes and in one strike they can get away with 10 to 15 bikes. They carry country-made fire arms. The gangs even rob vehicles on the highway. Snatching and stealing cattle is their preferred business. They do not reccee the target before executing the crime.

Why do the police not register cases? Having an FIR lodged is an uphill task that’s why many get it through 156(3), even an NCR keeps you waiting, how do you brief your SHOs about this lackadaisical approach and indifferent conduct?

We have regular briefings where I categorically instruct my SHOs not to hesitate to lodge an FIR. If you are an aggrieved party, your voice should be heard.


Many cases speak implication leading to the extent of conviction at times. How do you deal with the lacuna in the system and tackle the clout of some local politicos’ shenanigans who influence the local thana?

Everything is scrutinized microscopically. If someone is framed in a false case with the connivance of the police at the thana level, he can approach the ACP sub-division, DCP or Joint CP concerned and so on. All senior officers are approachable.


Does the police machinery experience pressure from the ministry concerned, MHA?

Here in Delhi there is no pressure I’ve ever experienced from the ministry.


Power corrupts even the sanest psyches; many police officials cannot digest success and fall prey to corrupt practices, what’s your say?

True, we should keep the head intact and not do things at the cost of dignity. Their perception needs to change. In a nutshell, the wrong meets a terrible fate in the end.


Many bureaucrats enter politics at the end of the day; do you have such a plan in your subconscious mind in years to come?

Politics is not really my cup of tea.


What would you have preferred to be as the best alternative had you not got through?

I would have chosen to be a scribe.


You are said to be a good Samaritan, yes?       

I do not think likewise. But if someone in need comes to me hoping to be relieved of the problem. I redress his grievances and send him back with a glimmer of hope and a smile on his face. Why misuse your power? I do exactly what I am assigned to. There is no harm in helping those in trouble. If you are a law-abiding person, I’m with you. We are living in a society where our duty has been defined and the task assigned. If you can help someone smile then why not? I understand as long as one should not twist the law for one’s own benefits.


You have bridged up the gaping gap between the public and the police to an extent. How did you do that?

We are public servants, we are one of them and we have to work for them. I often help citizens conduct community-based social, cultural and educational programmes that close in the gap between people and police. This dispels the prejudiced notions about the police. People should not fear khaki, they rather feel proud of the uniform safeguarding them.


Your olfactory senses are acute, never mistake the mask for the face, you deal well with sycophants. How do you catch the culprit on the wrong foot?

I believe in seeing. I can perceive through who is what. If one lies and fabricates a story I can understand in no time. I know the way out with flatterers.


You are a fitness freak, an early riser and go jogging without a miss. How do you keep balance in this fast-paced lifestyle in Delhi?

I love sports. I played for college. I go jogging and perform a bit of yoga that keep me going with the day. Meditation helps one introspect. It heals and enhances me within. Time has to be scheduled in accordance with priority.


How do you see life after retirement as many bureaucrats keep their NGOs activities abuzz whereas some spend time reclining on a wicker pew in a sylvan surrounding sipping at black coffee with VS Naipaul, Vikram Seth or Pankaj Mishra in hand?

I am a voracious reader. I would love to write.


What do you read?

I prefer reading autobiography to fiction.


Finally, you have lately been awarded President award—whom do you attribute the success to and why?

I attribute this success to my parents and my bosses who always guided me through all highs and lows as and when I needed them.

By Syed Wajid Ali

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