MANOJ MORE: You began your tenure by seeking to curb the menace of chain-snatching. Despite all your efforts, why are the chain snatchers still on the loose?
Yes, we have launched a drive to tame the chain-snatchers. But it would not be appropriate to say that our efforts have not yielded results. The figures speak for themselves. We have caught several of them. Soon we will catch them all.
MANOJ MORE: After the recent communal clashes, have the police stepped up efforts to ensure that such things don’t disturb Pune’s peace?
It was basically a clash between two groups of youths over flashing a headlight of a two-wheeler which got ignited. The police have gone all out to restore peace in a short period and have succeeded in doing so. The trouble-makers had been put behind bars. The police continues to make efforts to ensure peace in the society and we involve people from different communities towards that end.
CHANDAN HAYGUNDE: Have issues like ban on cow slaughter in the state and apparently the rise of certain radical outfits increased communal tensions in the city?
To some extent, it is true. These outfits act as the sparks for a communal fire. They are brainwashing the youths. But people from different religions have been living together for many years in the city. People should be told that they have to live together always. So live peacefully even if anybody is trying to create disharmony.
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CHANDAN HAYGUNDE: You have a special cell, an anti terrorist cell. Their performance in dealing with terrorism is not good compared to other police agencies. Why?
There are specific departments like the ATS for tacking terror. Compared to these agencies, we have limited resources. But our teams work in co-ordination with ATS and intelligence agencies.
SUNANDA MEHTA: Is there a rise of right-wing terror in Pune of late?
It’s not a new phenomenon. Right wing terror has existed for the last 40 years just like other forms of terror. It also depends on people perceptions of the people based on the government formations.
ANURADHA MASCARENHAS: Pune police had launched an initiative to ensure safety of senior citizens. What is the present status ?
We have appointed a sub-inspector at each station to look into cases dealing with senior citizens. There are some 4,000 cases registered presently. We have also asked each police station to go and check on them at their homes. Recently we held a few meetings and we are creating a database of senior citizens.
ATIKH RASHID: In the FTII case, police were quick to book students for allegedly threatening a faculty. The impression that one is getting is the police is trying to pressurise students to withdraw the strike on the government’s behalf.
We are not doing anything pro-actively. If somebody approaches us with a complaint we have to take congnisance and investigate if the allegations are true or false. The FTII protest is going on for over a month, we did not file any complaint or inquire any students. Why would we do that now?
SUSHANT KULKARNI: Pune police has a special cell which deals with the cases of flesh trade and human trafficking. In recent times, the number of cases by the cell has come down. Has this trend been analysed?
When I joined here, a lot of cases about sealing the places where these crimes took place were pending. When we come across such cases in the residential area, our policy has been seal that house. But when in an area there are many such places running together, sealing one place does not make any difference. So reckless sealing is also not advisable. We too have taken a fresh look at the issue.
NISHA NAMBIAR: Of late, have you given any specific instructions for VIP movement or has the deployment reduced?
There are various kinds of security levels such as X,Y,Z and we follow that. There are no special instructions given on reducing or increasing the security. The VIP movement in the city follows the traffic signal. We had seen many ministers telling us that they do not require the added security and many ministers do not even ask for additional security.
MANOJ MORE: Your take on Narendra Dabholkar case. Why did Pune police fail to crack the assassination of the activist which happened right in the heart of the city and not far away from where cops were present ?
I wouldn’t like to comment on this case since I was not the police commissioner when the incident happened. The case is now with the CBI. Whenever we have any inputs, we pass them onto the CBI.
SUSHANT KULKARNI: Do you think that the time limit for restaurants and bars is being followed across the city?
We have requested the government to make the timings at par with Mumbai. Here in Pune, food and beverages can be served till 11.30 and the establishments are supposed to close by 12.30 am. In Mumbai they can be open till 1.30. We had asked same thing for Nagpur and we have also demanded the same for Pune.
SHRIKRISHNA KOLHE: If we look at some of the recent cases of road robberies, do you think patrolling needs to be stepped up?
Earlier, at every police station, there were just two to three vehicles. But now we have taken out some of the vehicles which were reserved for VIP movement, they have been reassigned for patrolling. We have also formed dedicated teams of women beat marshals and it is also ensured their presence is felt specially in the areas where there are colleges and schools.
SUNANDA MEHTA: There doesn’t seem to be strict action against drunken driving in Pune as in Mumbai?
Of course there is. In fact we even confiscate the vehicle to prevent the offenders from repeating the crime. But why are all questions asked only to the police? What about the individual’s responsibilities?
MANOJ MORE: Other than your drive against chain snatchers, what other major steps have you taken during your tenure so far?
Detection of the crime has been right on top. Besides, we have increased patrolling in the city. Also, I have concentrated on strengthening our traffic policing. We are laying stress on regulating traffic rather than imposing fines on citizens. I am also making efforts to guide our traffic police team in manning traffic and remaining alert on the job. It has been made compuslory for top cops to remain present at the traffic chowks at least for two hours a day.
ANURADHA MASCARENHAS: The medical community has been concerned over increasing attack against doctors at hospitals. Any measures taken by the police?
The Indian Medical Association has approached us. We have had several talks with doctors. Police has been instructed to register complaints immediately and also involve doctors in taking necessary help.
NISHA NAMBIAR :What about the issues against foreigners especially in areas such as Kondhwa?
We are taking the necessary actions like deporting them. But we are not taking very stringent action as we do not want to be showing them in bad light as it would reflect us in poor light in other countries.
AJAY KHAPE: The committee on women’s safety is being headed by you being a police commissioner. Has there been any initiatives undertaken for safety of women in city?
The government resolution on formation of committees came last month and accordingly we held a meeting with all the members. At present, we have urged the local civic bodies and the local police unit to identify the areas that are unsafe for women in the city.
SUSHANT KULKARNI: The Cyber crime cell has always been a neglected child. Extra duties are assigned to them and they are also part of regular bandobast. Your take.
I would not agree with this. A lot of new things are being done. Now every district is also going to a Cyber crime police station. Also, the issue of forensic labs is being dealt with seriously. A new DG has been assigned to it and it shows how serious the government is about this.
ATIKH RASHID: What do you have to say about the practice of custodial torture?
Over the years I have seen that the custodial torture has reduced and now it has come down to nil. Today we are equipped with the technology to get information — we get to know the whereabouts through mobile tower location, other things through lie detector tests — so there is no need to beat any body up to get information.
CHANDAN HAYGUNDE: We reported about illegal matka dens like the one which operates on a footpath along the main road in Pashan. Cops then raided the matka den and now after a few months its flourishing again. Your take.
These issues are handled at the police station level. I believe matka stops at the table of the police inspector and not just during the raids. If there are specific inputs about illegal gambling dens, information should be shared with us. We would certainly take action.
AJAY KHAPE: The Bombay High Court has directed strict implementation of rules during Ganesh Festivals so that there is no inconvenience to citizens. What steps is the police taking as per court directions?
There should be no issue as the rules were already in existence. However, the main part has to be played by the municipal commissioner in deciding the rules and policy during Ganesh festivals. This is a festival of people and is being celebrated from years. The police would do everything possible to keep it a smooth affair.