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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Graft lens on lady cop

Former officer-in-charge of the government’s showpiece Mahila Thana in Ranchi — primarily set up three years ago to offer succour to victims of domestic violence — is under scanner, with some half a dozen complainants claiming that she demanded hefty sums of money to lodge FIRs.

Besides seven individual victims of sub-inspector Sheela Toppo (45) — who is currently posted at the adjacent Kotwali police station — an organisation of tribal women, Addi Haq Mahila Morcha, too, has levelled graft and corruption charges against her. The outfit had also gheraoed the thana on November 8.

A letter issued from the office of IG (human rights) Tadasha Mishra on November 24 had asked SSP Saket Singh to probe the complaints and submit a report within seven days to DGP G.S. Rath. While it was addressed to Singh, copies were also sent to additional director-general of CID Asha Sinha, zonal IG M.S. Bhatia and range DIG Sheetal Oroan.

The Telegraph too has a copy of the letter that names the seven victims of Toppo’s high-handedness as Suman Devi, a resident of Gagi village in Kanke, Pramila Devi and Bigu Munda of Sukurhuttu, Jyoti Devi of Jharia (Dhanbad), Arpana Bara of Sundernagar, Dayamani Kacchap of Hatma and Sabama Parveen of Karbala Tank Road.

Pramila Devi had visited the Mahila Thana on September 29 to lodge an FIR against her “atrocious” in-laws. She was allegedly bullied into keeping her complaint short instead of being allowed to register her entire gripe.

According to Suman Devi, Toppo demanded Rs 10,000 from her to register an FIR against her husband. While Jyoti Devi to levelled bribery charges against the policewoman, Sabana Parveen alleged that Toppo assaulted her at the police station.

Toppo declined to comment. She also feigned ignorance about any probe against her. “How can I comment when no one has come to me officially for an inquiry? If I am being probed, let someone come and talk to me first,” she said.

IG Mishra said she did not particularly remember when she signed the order. “I sign many documents every day, it is difficult to keep everything in mind,” she said.

SSP Singh admitted that he had received the probe order. “I have assigned the task to a DSP. I was out of station for some days and am not in a position to tell you about its present status,” he said.

Interestingly, Toppo was transferred to Kotwali a day after the IG shot the letter.