Despite holding a series of outreach programmes through March to encourage house owners to submit details of their tenants, the result is “not satisfactory”. “Some people did respond but they are few in number,” said a senior police officer of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate.
The police had been holding public meetings not only at the police stations but also at the block community halls, appealing to residents to share information about their tenants.
The move came close on the heels of the police stumbling upon Rs 3.8 crore in cash at two rented flats at Sankalpa II residential complex in New Town. These, it was found, belonged to fake call centre operators. The incident also brought into focus how fraudsters had changed their modus operandi and were operating out of rented flats with fewer staff members to avoid suspicion.
“Everyone,” the officer points out, “understands that the verification form should be submitted but they do not end up doing it”. “We have had a situation in Salt Lake where a man attended the meeting, lauded the police for taking the initiative but when his house was raided it was found that he had kept 15-20 paying guests without informing us. Some were directly involved with a fake call centre,” he said.
The thana officers had asked landlords to download the form from the commissionerate website. One had to fill up and upload the form and show the receipt to the local thana.
But since the third week of March, many readers complained that the section on the list of applications, where the forms are supposed to be available on the registration of tenant, domestic help, milkman, etc. was not opening. And now, the Bidhannagar City Police website itself is not opening. A message informs that the website is “under upgradation”.
“The website is temporarily unavailable as a security audit is being done by Webel, which maintains the site. We hope to relaunch it in a couple of weeks with an improved look and some new features. The last audit was done about four or five years ago. Without an audit, a website is at risk of being compromised in case of a cyber attack,” said the officer.
“It is a lame excuse if one cites one's inability to download the form. Hard copies were given out at the para meetings while one could ask for a hard copy at the local police station any time,” he pointed out.