| Laloo Prasad
Patna, Dec. 3: Bihar director-general of police D.P. Ojha is a victim or a villain, or both, depending on perspective.
Last Friday, he caused a stir at a Sonepur fair in Saran district by saying power in the state had passed into the hands of lafanga (hoodlum) politicians while referring to the criminal-politician nexus in Bihar.
Ojha added that controversial Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Mohammad Shahabuddin headed the gangs that kidnapped businessmen’s children for ransom.
The DGP said many powerful politicians as well as big names looked up to the Siwan MP, currently lodged in jail.
Ojha also said people think 80 per cent of Bihar policemen, including IPS officers, are corrupt.
But the DGP is now being regarded as something of a liability, with the ruling class as well as his police colleagues wondering how to resolve the controversy, for Ojha’s remarks have sparked a war of words.
His attack on Shahabuddin prompted RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav to say the DGP ought not to “cross his limits” and attack politicians. The RJD brass predictably rallied behind Laloo Prasad while the entire Opposition came out in support of Ojha.
But the DGP has belatedly learned the virtues of holding his fire. At a face-to-face programme at the Gandhi Maidan book fair here yesterday, Ojha evaded questions. “Please don’t provoke me to say more on this. I am already facing charges for violating the code of service conduct by issuing statements against such people,” he said.
On Monday, the DGP had written to chief secretary K.A.H. Subramaniam, saying: “Under a deep-rooted conspiracy by the criminal-police-politician nexus, the office bearers of certain policemen’s associations have launched a campaign against me in the media and government by levelling unfounded allegations against me.”
The same day, Ojha announced steps to disband the Bihar Police Association and asked the government not to stall the transfers of the association’s office bearers, as ordered by the high court, or risk a contempt of court case. The high court has directed the state to transfer all police personnel who have been posted for more than three years in one place, even if this means reshuffling the entire force.
The axe was set to fall on the state police association and the Bihar Policemen’s Association.
Ojha felt many association members had been in their posts too long and were being influenced by the lafanga politicians. He passed orders for their transfer and was considering scrapping the associations, whose members met chief minister Rabri Devi and Laloo Prasad recently to pre-empt the move.
The Rabri regime responded by saying no transfers would be permitted, adding that there should be a lakshman rekha for every official. Laloo Prasad angrily said Ojha should work more and speak less and his party workers accused the DGP of damaging the RJD’s image.
“No political officer can abdicate his responsibility by saying there is corruption and crime in society and so the police can’t do anything,” said legislative council member Ram Kripal Yadav. Deputy speaker Bhola Prasad Singh was also scathing in his criticism of Ojha.
Not so the Opposition, especially the BJP, which praised the DGP for not ignoring court orders or letting politicians interfere.
Ojha himself chooses to ignore the lakshman rekha that the RJD has tried to bind him down to. “I don’t know where it is (the lakshman rekha),” he says. “I know my service rules but history shows many lakshman rekhas and model codes have been broken for ushering in social and systemic changes,” the DGP says.
The police officer does not think he is waging a lone battle against corrupt politicians like a latter-day Abhimanyu because, as he says, the youth are with him. But why is he still in the corrupt system' “I am tolerating this just like the people,” Ojha replies.
Elsewhere, principal secretary Subramanian has returned to Patna from Delhi to resolve the transfers’ controversy. The high court has set a December 18 deadline for the police transfers.