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Minister admits political hands in police affairs

Barasat, Jan. 19: A CPM minister today said he knew of many party functionaries who would try to influence police investigations into crimes by people known for their proximity to the ruling Leftists and some Opposition leaders.

Housing minister Goutam Deb said the party leadership, at the insistence of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had asked functionaries at different levels not to meddle in police probes.

Deb, also a prominent leader of the CPM’s North 24-Parganas unit, dropped the bomb shell while inaugurating a community hall for police personnel at the district police headquarters in Doltala.

“We have seen how political interference acts as an impediment for the police. The police hesitate to arrest a criminal with political connections, especially with the ruling party. It disturbs the administrative structure and creates chaos, taking advantage of which separatist outfits lower roots. This was amplified by Buddhadebbabu at a meeting with our partymen. We have already instructed our leaders not to interfere with the process of police inquiry,” said Deb.

In a speech that was marked with candour, Deb also charged a section of the police officers —especially those posted in North 24-Parganas — with currying favours with the ruling front as well as Opposition politicians.

The government, he said, is determined to deal with the malady. “We have seen how a small section of officers are functioning as power centres by virtue of their political connections, very often disregarding their superiors. This will not be tolerated. A senior officer charged with wrongdoing may stall an investigation and secure a reprieve through his connections, but it will not be a permanent affair because we will set up a structure in which he will be accountable for his acts till the last day in service.”

Deputy inspector-general (training) Abani Mohan Joarder lauded the police for having the Rs 11 lakh-community centre built without help from the government but also portrayed the flaws in the present system of police training.

The depressing environment in police barracks — from where came the five constables who battered sergeant Bapi Sen to death when he stood up against their lewd behaviour — and lopsided assessment of performance at lower levels of police are part of the flaws, said Joarder.

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