Ready to hang up his boots after nearly a year-long controversial tenure,Delhi Police Chief Neeraj Kumar today said a “motivated campaign” was launched against him in the aftermath of December 16 gangrape incident but maintained that quitting had never crossed his mind.
Strongly defending the police action in handling the massive protests after the incident,the Police Commissioner,who will retire this month end,said he was personally targeted during his tenure but ruled out involvement of politicians in the campaign aimed at removing him.
The outgoing Commissioner counts bringing professionalism into his over 80,000 strong force and cracking of a number of high-profile cases including the spot fixing scandal,as his major achievements during his 13 month-long stint as head of the force.
“No,never. I am not a quitter. I don’t believe in running away from situation. So never considered quitting. It was a motivated campaign and it’s over,” he said when asked whether he contemplated quiting after his removal was demanded by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit after the police crackdown on protesters at India Gate and Raj Path.
Asked to identify the people,who he feels had hatched a conspiracy to target him during his tenure,Kumar,a 1976-batch IPS officer,refused to name them but said they were not politicians.
“I will not give their names just now…. They are not politicians,” he told PTI in an interview. Kumar,however,indicated that he may name them once he demits office.
Justifying the police action against protesters in India Gate following the gangrape incident,Kumar said the force did not have any option but to remove the crowd as Russian President Vladimir Putin was arriving in the city and preparations had to be made at the Raj Path for the Independence Day celebrations.
“It is misconception that we did not handle the (protests) well. Throughout the day we tried to persuade them,we tried to request them to disperse. We fired teargas shells,we fired water canons several times. It was a leaderless crowd. Lumpen elements had begun to hijack the entire campaign. So we had to take action…we had no option. When all other options failed,we resorted to cane charge and the crowd melted away,” he said.
Asked about the 13-year delay in filling of charge sheet in the match fixing case allegedly involving South African cricketer Hansie Cronje,Kumar evaded a direct reply but said the positive thing is that the case is being taken to logical conclusion.
“The point is that you should be happy that a case which has been pending for 13 years has been chargesheeted rather than saying why 13 years. I don’t want to comment on why so much delay has been there in the past but we have managed to charge sheet it and it’s a good thing. At least it has been taken to its logical conclusion,” he said.
Queried about his achievements,Kumar,a recipient of the President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1992 and President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 1999,referred to solving of a number of high profile cases including the gangrape case,spot fixing scandal and Pune blast case in record time.
“My achievement has been that all important cases have been solved in record time. Number two,we have paid a lot of emphasis on professional work and a lot of improvements have been made,” he said.
“It is difficult to say what my biggest achievement is. I have done a lot on men’s welfare. I have created a martyrs fund. I have created a ‘Cold cases cell’ where old cases which have been forgotten have been revived,” he said.
Kumar,who hails from Bihar,in his career spanning more than 37 years had handled many high profile cases including the investigation into the 1993 Mumbai serial blast case.
When asked why links of no other cricketer could be found despite Delhi police indicating about alleged involvement of more players in the spot fixing scandal,Kumar only said : “Itwas bad luck”.
He was asked whether phone intercepts between bookies and players,the evidence Delhi police is banking upon in the spot-fixing case,will be enough to nail S Sreesanth,Ajit Chandila,Ankeet Chavan and others as earlier in the Parliament attack case,Delhi high court had acquitted SAR Geelani holding that phone records are not enough to convict him.
“I cannot comment. See as an investigator,we always feel that we have got a good ase. If I was a defence lawyer,I will always say that they have got a very poor case,right. It is for the court to decide,” he said.
Kumar said as police commissioner he introduced a number of new initiatives to improve community policing and trace the missing children in the city.
“Many things,for instance in the area of community policing,we started several initiatives like ‘Yuva’,’Pehchaan’,another initiative called ‘Khoj’ which was to reunite abandoned children with their families mainly focused at railway stations and then we started another scheme called ‘Aapka update’,under which complainants were to be informed regularly by the Investigating Officers about progress of their cases,” he said.
In an effort to stop youngsters from entering the crime world,police had launched the ‘Yuva’ scheme to engage youths in sports activities. “Pehchaan” was launched for children belonging to vulnerable sections of society.
They were registered and photographed from time to time with the district police in order to prevent them from falling to exploitation and felony. ‘Operation Khoj’ was launched to re-unite lost children on railway platforms with their parents.
“Then there was another programme called ‘Jansampark’,in which senior officers of Joint CP rank and Special CP rank meet citizens at neutral venues. By neutral places I mean,not at police stations,not at colonies but places like community centre.”
He also identified issuance of “standing orders” for investigations abroad,improving functioning of crime record office and updating surveillance system as other achievements.
Kumar,a post graduate of prestigious St Stephans college here,said a major project called ‘Safe City’ has been initiated under which policing will be modernised significantly including introduction of more technology.
Asked whether Delhi police was ill equipped to face challenges posed by 21st century criminals,Kumar said the force will have to have technological supremacy over the criminals.
“We always have to keep updating our technological capabilities because now criminals are using Skype. So we have to devise means to intercept those calls. People communicate through Facebook,Twitter. It is not easy to track all that. We have to keep upgrading,” he said.
The Police Commissioner also underlined the importance of having “good forensic capabilities” to contain crime and criminals.
“Our Home Ministry is actively involved in upgrading forensic capabilities not only in Delhi but all over the country,” he said.