The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) on Saturday arrested a Head Constable of the Delhi Police on charges of extorting money from a scrap dealer in Northeast Delhi’s Sonia Vihar area. The incident triggered yet another standoff between the government and the Delhi Police after the latter registered a case of kidnapping on behalf of the accused’s wife and has sent a notice to the ACB asking its raiding team to “join investigations”.
Sources in the ACB said the department served a counter-notice to the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sonia Vihar police station asking him to join investigations in their case against the Head Constable. The FIR and counter-FIR are being seen as a fallout over a recent Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notification which allows the ACB to only prosecuting Delhi government employees and not Central government (Delhi Police comes under MHA) employees.
According to an ACB source, the arrest came after a scrap dealer made a complaint on the anti-corruption helpline 1031. He claimed that Head Constable Anil, stationed at Sonia Vihar police station, was extorting money from him and threatening to implicate him in false cases if he didn’t comply.
“The head constable was demanding Rs 20,000 from the complainant who managed to pay him half the amount. However, when the policeman persisted, the scrap dealer recorded the conversation and submitted it to the ACB. A case under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act was then registered,” a senior ACB officer said.
Following this, a team was formed and the personnel of Sonia Vihar police station and the Northeast district were informed about the case. Sources said a trap was laid at Bhajanpura where the complainant had called Anil promising to give him the remaining amount. Sources said Anil arrived there in the company of other policemen who managed to escape.
Anil, ACB sources said, was caught red-handed and produced before a court.
In the interim, Anil’s wife’s signatures were allegedly procured by the Delhi Police and a case under sections of kidnapping was registered at the Sonia Vihar police station against “unknown persons”.
Reportedly, in the court of Sessions Judge Poonam Chaoudhary, both departments produced evidence for their respective cases. The Delhi Police cited the MHA notification before the court stating that the ACB had gone “beyond its jurisdiction” and arrested a Central government employee.
However, the court granted the ACB a three-day custody of Anil, thereby setting aside the notification.
When asked about the issue of jurisdiction, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACB) Surender Singh Yadav said, “I am under instructions from the Delhi government to take action against corrupt elements under the law. Every agency should cooperate in this endeavour.” Despite repeated attempts, DCP (Northeast) Veenu Bansal was unavailable for comment.
When comments were sought, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “The Delhi ACB is working very strictly. We got a lead on corruption involving Delhi Police. One of the ASI and a constable were demanding bribe. The constable was arrested but the ASI is on the run. Senior officers of the Delhi Police are not cooperating. Every one is in a loop and an FIR was lodged saying the the constable has been kidnapped.”