Checkpoints in action on top cop’s orders

Police intensify vigil across city ahead of Lok Sabha polls

  • Published 15.03.19, 3:06 AM
  • Updated 15.03.19, 3:06 AM
  • a min read
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Officers of Gariahat police station run a check on items in a vehicle at a checkpoint in Ballygunge Phanri on Thursday afternoon. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Several checkpoints were seen across the city on Thursday, following the city police chief’s instruction to intensify vigil against smuggling of unaccounted for money, liquor and arms ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Metro spotted officers of Gariahat police station checking vehicles around 3.10pm at one such checkpoint in Ballygunge Phanri.

Crash barriers placed across the road had posters asking people to go slow as a check was on.

Officers had fanned out along Ashutosh Chowdhury Avenue looking for and stopping “suspicious-looking” vehicles.

Once they had zeroed in on a vehicle, an officer signalled the driver to stop.

“We are not here to harass anyone. We are trying to use discretion before stopping any vehicle,” an officer of Gariahat police station said.

“For example, we haven’t stopped any car with a family. But if a vehicle is found to be moving unusually fast or has tinted windowpanes rolled up, it naturally raises suspicion,” the officer said.

Commercial vehicles, including app cabs and yellow taxis, private cars, especially ones with big boots, were stopped and checked.

Cops used hand-held detectors to scan luggage and manually searched big bags or cartons found in vehicles that had been stopped.

City police commissioner Anuj Sharma had asked the police to “activate” 82 checkpoints in the city and maintain video surveillance on each ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The police should be “visible and fully active” for random checks, he had said during his first election coordination meeting with city police officers on Tuesday.

Although such checks are generally carried out at night, many officers feel “it is equally important to check vehicles during the day”.

In November 2016, a man posing as a vigilance officer had stopped a businessman in Gariahat during the day and “seized” Rs 56.5 lakh in demonetised 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

The businessman had later submitted documents to prove his ownership and the fraud of the “vigilance officer” was detected.