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647 land-grabbing cases are under probe, 16 FIRs filed, says Gujarat Govt

Saying that law and order is a pre-condition of development, Vijay Rupani said the priority of his government is to give a sense of peace and security to the people by giving a free hand to the police department

By: Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
January 23, 2021 4:29:30 am
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After the enactment of the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition Act), 647 cases of alleged land-grabbing are under investigation with FIRs filed in 16 of them, said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Pankaj Kumar, while addressing a press conference in the presence of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja.

The press conference, organised to release certain information related to the home department in the state, was attended by Chief Principal Secretary to the CM K Kailashnathan, Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia and Director of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Keshav Kumar.

Pankaj Kumar said that to check land-grabbing in the state, the state government has enacted the Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act in the previous assembly session. He added that so far, 605 applications of land grabbing were received by different collectors who have initiated suo motu proceedings in 42 cases.

“Investigations are on in the cases and state government is monitoring the same. Sixteen FIRs have been registered against 34 land-grabbers,” Kumar said adding that the total land in the cases will be around 1.35 lakh square metre, worth Rs 220 crore as per jantri rates (ready reckoner of land prices in different parts of the state).

DGP Bhatia provided details about cases registered under the amended Prevention of Anti-Social Act (PASA) and Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Act. He said that categories of cyber crime, gambling, money lending and sexual harassment have been added to the amended Act. Till December 2020, 1,247 people, including 90 bootleggers, 15 money lenders, 15 accused of sexual harassment and nine of cyber crime, were behind bars under PASA.

About cases under GCTOC, Bhatia said police have so far registered 11 cases and more than 100 accused are in jail. He also added that many proposals of the GCTOC are under consideration against criminals indulging in extortion, supari killing and economic offences. He said police has also launched a campaign to nab more than 20,000 criminals absconding in different cases.

Saying that law and order is a pre-condition of development, Rupani said the priority of his government is to give a sense of peace and security to the people by giving a free hand to the police department. Referring to the Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, Rupani said that the actual deterrence against the illegal activity will come 6-7 months later when the arrested accused will be convicted and sent to jail.

He also said that the Gujarat police was planning to introduce body camera for police personnel. “In coming days, body cameras will be attached to police. We will start it from traffic police so that, behavior towards public can be viewed centrally. The tender is in final stage… Police’s behavior will come under control. It will also benefit police because on many occasions fake complaints are lodged against police,” he said adding there will be one cyber police station in each district soon.

RR Cell abolished

Rupani, on Friday, declared to abolish the Rapid Response Cell (RR Cell) attached with the concerned range IG/DIG in the state. Making the announcement, the CM said, “The RR Cell practice was functional since 1995. It is being abolished from today. (We are) strengthening the Superintendent of Police so that they can work (more) in the district.”

“We also want to give out a message to police that it can never be tolerated that the protector turns into a tormentor. And we are trying to give a message that they stay away from such things. It is a basic requirement that policemen do not align with criminals…,” Rupani said.

Asked about the reason for abolishing the RR Cell, Rupani said, “The role of RR Cell was to accompany the DIG/IG for an operation. Now, with the use of technology, the utility of RR Cell has decreased… The IG/DIG are always there above the district superintendent so, there is no question of anybody getting unfettered power.” There are eight police range in Gujarat and each range is being headed by an IPS officer of DIG or IG rank. Each Range IG/DIG has an RR Cell of around 10-15 police personnel to assist him. The staff of RR Cells will be merged with the district police concerned.

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