The problem of inadequate personnel is not an unfamiliar complaint in police forces across the country.
In Noida and Ghaziabad,on the eastern border of Delhi,the situation is no different.
While Gautam Buddh Nagar district has a personnel strength of around 1,500 for a population upwards of 18 lakh,Ghaziabad district has around 4,000 personnel for over 50 lakh people. The police in both areas,however,have come under fire over the past month with a series of high-profile cases in their jurisdictions yet to be solved.
Police blame structural problems for delay in solving cases. These problems,they claim,are peculiar to the two cities that border Delhi,is part of the NCR and,yet,fall under the jurisdiction of the Uttar Pradesh state.
Yogesh Singh,SP (city) Noida,said,The disposal of cases is something that definitely needs improvement. However,officers argue that there are unique issues with Noida and Ghaziabad that delay operations.
In a majority of serious crimes,such as murder or assault,forensic examinations are vital. For both Noida and Ghaziabad,the closest forensic laboratories are in Delhi,less than an hour away. However,since both cities come under Uttar Pradesh,the appropriate Forensic Science Laboratory is in Agra,200 kilometres away. Therefore,in terms of logistics,such as transporting samples like viscera,and then getting the reports takes a minimum of two days. Sometimes,the delay makes the trail go cold. This is an issue that must be looked into, a senior officer said.
Another issue besieging the force in Noida and Ghaziabad is the lack of specialisation in investigation.
The majority of cases that come to police stations in Noida and Ghaziabad have smaller motives behind them, a senior UP police officer said.
For example,nearly 20 per cent of murders in Noida have either a property or family dispute as the motive. Unlike Delhi,which has the Crime Branch to tackle high-profile cases,the Noida and Ghaziabad police investigations are in the hands of an SHO-rank officer. And training in cases,which have a money trail or have motives more complex than personal issues,is sorely lacking, the officer said under the condition of anonymity.
Another issue which leads to a delay is the tracking of an accused in a case,police sources said.
Both Ghaziabad and Noida have seen a massive upswing in residential complexes,making them centres for employment opportunities and businesses. Most of those who migrate to the two cities work in low-level jobs in industries or construction and live in non-regularised colonies. Tracking an accused who lives in one of these colonies is difficult. With no documentations showing the owner of a property or details on rentals,a manhunt becomes a literal door-to-door search,slowing down the process, the officer said.
The delay then causes a vicious cycle resulting in a law and order problem,officers said.
Rannvijay Singh,DSP,Ghaziabad,said,Ghaziabad is especially crime prone. As cases keep piling,public resentment against police,whether deserved or not,increases as well. As a result,very often when a crime takes place,people take to the streets in protest and there is a law and order problem. With the force already being understaffed,we then have to control the situation from going out of hand as more people could get hurt in the violence. This then takes away manpower from the investigation.
Roadblocks in police investigation
Structural issues: Both Noida and Ghaziabad lie in NCR but come under UPs jurisdiction. Hence,even though closest forensic laboratories are in Delhi,samples have to be sent to Agra,which is 200 km away. Results come after two days,delaying investigation,Sometimes the trail goes cold
Lack of specialisation in investigation:In Delhi,high-profile cases are handled by Crime Branch. In Noida and Ghaziabad they are handled by an SHO rank officer,who doesnt have adequate training in cases,which have a money trail or motives more complex than personal issues
Non-regularised colonies:Noida,Ghaziabad have an abundance of unauthorised colonies. Hence,tracking of accused who live in such colonies,which have no paper work,is diffficult
Protests add to law & order problem:Delay in solving cases leads to protests,which create a law and order problem in the city. Police have to deploy personnel to control the situation,which eats into the already understaffed force
Murder or suicide?
On March 13,28-year-old engineer Shashank Yadav was found hanging in the ladies restroom in the Noida stadium. It was then revealed that Yadav,who was an Engineers India Limited (EIL) employee,was the nodal officer assisting the CBI in an investigation into a fake certificate reportedly submitted by Fernas,a Turkish firm. Fernas subsequently got two contracts worth Rs 2200 crore for projects in the oil and natural gas sector. Shashanks family registered a complaint alleging murder. They said Shashank had been receiving death threats from ex-officials of EIL who were on the board of the company being investigated by the CBI. Two weeks on,the Noida police have yet to identify if the case was one of suicide or murder. The family,who now insists on a CBI probe,alleges that there was a delay in the forensic team reaching the spot,and Yadavs computer was only examined by policemen nine days after his death.
Carjackers from a residential complex
On March 19,two Ghaziabad police constables stopped next to car with three persons inside,all of whom seem to be carrying weapons. When questioned,the three fired at the policemen but missed their target. The constables (at the checkpoint) gave chase to the car. One of the three accused fled in another direction,while the other two boarded an autorickshaw,by threatening the driver at gunpoint,and headed to a high-end residential complex,Gaur Homes,triggering panic among residents around 5 pm in the evening. Despite the police surrounding the complex,the two were not found. Later investigations revealed that they were carjackers,who operated out of the residential complex,as they owned rented flats there. While the police say they have been identified,no arrests have been made so far.
On March 13,16-year-old student Jitendra Yadav was abducted from outside his home in Noida. The police initially refused to take the case seriously despite a ransom call being received by the family,based on the fact that Yadav was smiling when he left the house and that his Facebook page was being updated. Senior officers also say on record that the boy wanted more money from his father and had staged the kidnapping. Under pressure from a protesting family,police finally spoke to the media about the three in the case on March 24. But Jitendras body had still not been recovered at at the time. On March 26 however,the boys body is fished out of the Jhewar canal in Greater Noida. Five persons have been arrested,who told investigators that they made the ransom call after killing the boy and updated his Facebook page to avoid suspicion.