Fence eating crops? At least 7 Bengaluru cops arrested or suspended for theft, bribes in a week

In three cases involving seven police personnel, money was the driving factor, whether it was as a bribe or through theft.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Oct 13, 2022 | 10:00 AM Updated Oct 13, 2022 | 10:00 AM

From stealing seized money to demanding bribes, policemen in Bengaluru were accused of several crimes last week. (Supplied)

In what is being seen as instances of the fence eating the crop, at least seven police personnel from Bengaluru have been arrested or suspended from service or both in the last week alone on charges of involvement in criminal activities.

In the wake of the recent sudden spurt of criminal activities involving the police themselves, which is reflecting badly on the force, and citizens losing further confidence in the police, the watchdog Lokayukta has instructed its men to step up vigil not only on errant police personnel but also on government servants of other departments.

Even as an ADGP-ranked officer Amrit Paul, who was heading the police recruitment division and was an accused in the Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) recruitment scam, is still cooling his heels in judicial custody at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail, it looks like many others are yet to learn their lessons, said another ADGP-ranked official who did not wish to be named.

The CID officials arrested Paul after questioning him four times and confirming his involvement in the PSI recruitment scam. The CID filed an additional charge sheet against Paul alleging he received over ₹1 crore from candidates helping them clear the exam.

According to the charge sheet, the ADGP collected money from the PSI candidates through his staff and also with the help of one of his neighbours in Sahakar Nagar.

Paul applied for bail a few times in a special court, but the court has been rejecting his petitions stating that the FSL reports are yet to come and the investigations pertaining to retrieving his mobile phones’ Call-Detail-Records (CDR) are not yet over.

Meanwhile, over the past week, police personnel across stations in Bengaluru — ranging from the rank of police inspector to constables — have been accused of being involved in corruption and criminal activities like stealing and extortion.

The accused policemen have been booked accordingly, and some of them arrested. Some of them have even had a departmental inquiry initiated against them, and have been suspended.

Case 1

Five Bengaluru cops have been either suspended for Allegedly demanding a bribe from a man accused in a cricket-betting case. (Creative Commons)

Five Bengaluru cops have been either suspended for Allegedly demanding a bribe from a man accused in a cricket-betting case. (Creative Commons)

Two police sub-inspectors (PSIs) and three constables attached to the Sadashivnagar Police Station have been recently suspended pending a Departmental Enquiry (DE) by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Division) Srinivas Gowda.

The accusation on these five is that they had allegedly extorted ₹1 lakh from a businessman in Yelahanka while they were probing a cricket betting scam involving him. The accused detained the businessman and allegedly demanded the money to let him off the case.

After paying the cops ₹1 lakh, the businessman approached the Northeast DCP and filed a complaint.

The DCP directed the Yelahanka police inspector to probe into the matter and submit a report, which in turn was submitted to the Additional Commissioner of Police (East Zone) A Subramanyeswara Rao.

On Friday, 7 October, Rao instructed Gowda to suspend the five police personnel pending an enquiry.

A DE is underway on these errant police personnel.

Case 2

A head constable has confessed to stealing ₹10 lakh from a bag of money seized in connection with a crime. (Creative Commons)

A head constable has confessed to stealing ₹10 lakh from a bag of money seized in connection with a crime. (Creative Commons)

In a major embarrassment for the West Division of the police in Bengaluru, the Chandra Layout police have arrested a head constable working at their own police station for stealing ₹10 lakh from a realtor during his arrest recently.

The accused, Mahendra Gowda, has been booked for theft and has been remanded in judicial custody before he was suspended from duty by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (West Division).

According to the police, Gowda nabbed one Lingesh, a relator from Ramapura village in Channapatna, along with his associates with unaccounted-for cash of ₹50 lakh with them.

The police said that Lingesh and his associates had come to exchange demonetised currency when they were intercepted by Gowda and his colleagues.

While Lingesh and his associates were being taken to the station, Gowda, while carrying the cash bag, allegedly stole ₹10 lakh and sent it off to his house.

However, after Lingesh and others were booked under various sections under the Karnataka Police (KP) Act and released on station bail, Lingesh learnt that ₹10 lakh had gone missing and he filed a complaint with the senior police officer suspecting the role of Gowda behind the missing cash, as he was handling the cash bag during the arrest.

Based on the complaint, the police questioned Gowda, who eventually confessed to the crime. Based on his confession, the police recovered the cash and arrested him on Saturday.

Case 3

At the Northeast Division, it was a Lokayukta trap for a head constable from the Chikkajala Police Station, who was caught red-handed receiving money from an accused involved in a civil dispute.

According to the police, Head Constable Ravi S “offered” a deal to the accused in a civil dispute that if he paid up ₹3.2 lakh, his name would be cleared from the case and all charges dropped.

Believing the head constable, the accused paid him ₹3.2 lakh, but to his shock, the constable allegedly started demanding more — another ₹5 lakh — which he claimed that the police inspector was demanding.

It was then that the accused approached the Lokayukta, who laid a trap. Ravi fell into it: He was nabbed red-handed by the Lokayukta police while accepting the money on Saturday.

The inspector at the Chikkajala Police Station has been absconding ever since.

Senior police officials have, as of now, suspended the head constable, who has been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Money at the root of all 3 cases

All three cases came to the fore only after the victims filed complaints against the errant police officers with their seniors or with the Lokayukta.

And in all three cases, money was the root cause, whether it was as a bribe or through theft.

What’s more, these appear to be only a fraction of the instances where the police were held accountable for their actions.

“Since these aggrieved parties approached the senior police officers and filed a complaint, actions were initiated in these cases. Imagine how many would have gone without filing complaints,” a senior officer from the Lokayukta asked South First.