IN HIS first interview over 40 days after taking charge as Commissioner of Mumbai Police, D D Padsalgikar spoke to The Sunday Express on a wide range of topics concerning the city and its policing. Excerpts:
You worked as a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai before being posted to the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Upon being repatriated, what are the changes in policing that you have seen?
Eighteen years is a long time… The city itself has changed. Population has increased, the landscape of the city has undergone a sea change. Mill pockets like Parel and Lalbaug have given way to tall high-rises, same is true with the Bandra Kurla Complex area that has now turned into a business hub.
There has been massive economic growth and with that the policing of the city has also undergone a major change. We have to now upgrade our response. There is more responsibility on us. Assets have increased and it is our job to safeguard them.
Crime patterns have also evolved with time. White collar crime and those committed in the cyber space are on the rise. To deal with cyber and economic offences is our major concern. Ponzi schemes that attract people by offering them a bait of doubling their money have seen a comeback but with a sophisticated and a new modus operandi. As DCP (Economic Offences Wing), one of the first cases related to Ponzi scheme was probed by me, and now I see these schemes making a comeback.
Cyber-related offences face a major issue of jurisdiction. Also, with the modus operandi changing almost on a daily basis, are our men trained to handle them?
Jurisdiction was a concern but now we have resolved that. We are coordinating with various other state police on cyber related cases. Recently, we were approached by another state police on a cyber crime related case pertaining to a transaction that took place in Mumbai, help was immediately provided.
As far as the issue of training is concerned, policemen are being trained on rotation. We are also imparting basic education on cyber crime at the time of induction. After that if we find anybody having the aptitude and the requisite acumen, they are trained further.
The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) recently said that their next target is the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). How are Mumbai Police monitoring activities inside the campus?
There is no need for the police to be inside the campus.
However, if we receive any complaint from the head of the institute, it will definitely be probed and thoroughly investigated.
The Mumbai Police’s image suffered a major dent last year. How will you fix this?
We have already started the process. We have asked policemen to be courteous to both civilians and their colleagues. We want a healthy police-citizen relationship.
Stern action will be taken against defaulters. In the past cases, accountability has been fixed and we will ensure that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are in place are followed religiously. So if a raid has to take place in a lodge, the permission of the senior police officer of that area has to be sought before the raiding party conducts it. Similarly, SOPs in all situations have to be followed.
How important is social media for policing?
In this day and age being on social media is very important. Mumbai Police have an effective presence on social media. Mumbai Police is using the platform to disseminate information on a given event and also to ensure that incorrect information that might cause trouble does not spread.
How important is David Coleman Headley’s deposition in the ongoing 26/11 trial?
Headley is deposing before a court and therefore his statement has judicial authority. It is definitely important. He has named many people and so his deposition is of important value for us and for the case.
What is the level of the threat by the Islamic State (IS) in Mumbai and how are we dealing with it?
There has been an IS case concerning four youth from Malvani. There is an imminent threat and we are trying to have dialogues with both the youth and community leaders on
We have conducted seminars where both the youth and their parents have come forward and raised their concerns. They all speak in unison that they are against IS ideology.
Not just the police, but parents and community leaders are equal stakeholders to ensure that this issue is dealt with effectively. We are soon going to have a policy on deradicalisation.