| Elections mean easy money
Scrutiny of records of superintendent of police, Birbhum district, revealed that deployment of police personnel in high risk zones was less...the area with high crime rate was provided with less police personnel while some police station area with low crime rate had more police strength.
The actual number of lady police personnel was 9 during 1996-99 and 21 in 2000 against a total force strength ranging between 975 (1996) and 1,035 (2000). Strength of lady police force was to the extent of one per cent only during 1996-2000, whereas crime against women during 1996-2000 ranged between 18 and 14 per cent of the total crime.
Crime rate and police strength per lakh population ranged between 62 to 74 per cent and 32 to 34 per cent respectively in the district during 1996-2000. Again, each police personnel was to cover an area of 9.13 square kilometres and 6,092 people...
Shortage of police personnel, coupled with their irrational deployment in crime prone areas could contribute to higher incidence of crime.
The matter was referred to the government in January 2002; reply had not been received (January 2002)...
Election funds aggregating Rs 1.20 crore were unauthorizedly spent on purchase of luxurious goods/office equipment by seven SPs, while 19 election observers were accommodated in an expensive private club instead of government/semi-government guest houses incurring Rs 5.15 lakh towards food, lodging, laundry, bar items and entertainment...
Government of West Bengal, in pursuance of government of India’s directions, ordered (March 1999) that administrative expenditure, like purchase of furniture, fax machine, copiers, and so on, should not be incurred from the funds sanctioned for election purposes.
Test-check (February 2000 to April 2001) of records of seven SPs revealed that they drew Rs 3.90 crore in 1999-2000 for meeting expenditures in connection with holding of 13th Lok Sabha election (1999) as well as for byelections of Vidhan Sabha and municipalities. Scrutiny of the expenditure of Rs 3.90 crore revealed that in violation of the government’s order, the SPs utilized Rs 1.20 crore (30.77 per cent) for purchase of various items not related to elections.
Besides these, election funds were misutilized for repair of offices/residential buildings. The SP, Darjeeling, spent Rs 8.42 lakh for repair and maintenance of guesthouse (Rs 2.99 lakh) and 6 police outposts (Rs 5.52 lakh). The SP Medinipur also spent Rs 1.63 lakh for repairing of hired residential building of the Range DIG (Rs 87,150) and bathrooms and offices of the SP and additional SP. The SP Bardhaman spent Rs 1.49 lakh for construction of pol- ice station. The SP Medinipur misutilized the election fund even for making payment of his telephone bill (Rs 7,282) of his residence at Barrackpore outside his jurisdiction.
The SP, Medinipur, stated that out of Rs 9 lakh drawn in abstract contingent bill for election purpose, purchase of refrigerators, colour television sets, AC machines, and so on, were made for VVIPs and West Bengal police staying in the police inspection bungalow at Digha. Acquisition of SLR (Nikon) cameras and video cassette recorders was made to record photographic evidence for the Election Commission, in case of complaints of police over-action/in-action. The reply is not tenable since diversion of funds for purposes other than those specified in the order is not permissible. Since funds were sanctioned for deployment of police personnel/ NVF/CRPF for the conduct of elections, expenditure for non-election purposes... would need investigation and fixing of responsibility. The funds so misutilized would require to be refunded from the expenditure reimbursed by the government of India.