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Assam Police roadmap refocuses key areas

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 26 - With militancy on the wane, the Assam Police is preparing a road map to refocus on key policing areas, including investigation of cases, as at present, the conviction rate of the cases investigated by the State police is much lower than the national average, while there have been instances of arrested persons getting default bail because of delay in filing of chargesheet.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Director General of Assam Police Mukesh Sahay admitted that for a long time, the main focus of the police force has been to deal with militancy, while other issues like shortage of investigating officers, lack of proper coordination between the investigating officers and prosecutors, etc., also affected the investigation of the cases. �Of late, militancy is on the wane and though we cannot afford to lower our guard in that front, we are preparing a roadmap to focus on key policing areas, including investigation of cases,� he added.

The DGP admitted that the conviction rate of the cases investigated by the Assam Police is only around 10 per cent, which is much lower than the national average. The rate for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is over 60 per cent and that for the National Investigating Agency (NIA) is nearly hundred per cent. However, the CBI and NIA can pick and choose cases and the officers are dedicated only to the investigation of cases as they are not engaged in other duties like maintenance of law and order. Moreover, the investigating officers of such organizations get legal advice in every step of investigation.

On the road map prepared by the Assam Police to improve investigation, the DGP said that a core team headed by himself, which also includes other senior officers, including the Additional Director General of Police of the CID, would monitor the investigation of the very important cases, while the superintendent of police of every district would monitor the process of investigation of the important cases in the districts and have regular discussions with the prosecutors so that the chargesheets are foolproof to ensure better conviction rate.

The State government has also allowed specialized police agencies, including the vigilance and anti-corruption wing, CID, etc., to have a permanent panel of prosecutors, while regular interface between the investigators and prosecutors will definitely bring in improvement in the conviction rate.

Admitting the problems faced by the police due to shortage of investigating officers, the DGP pointed out that most of the cases at the police station level are investigated by the inspectors and sub-inspectors and they cannot devote their entire time and energy to investigation because they are often busy in maintaining law and order. To deal with the problem, the Assam Police is planning to deploy some officers in selected police stations exclusively for investigation of cases.

The DGP added that 340 sub-inspectors have already been appointed and they are now under training. When these police officers are posted in the early part of next year, the situation is likely to improve considerably, he said.

Sahay further pointed out that in the present day context, policemen need expert advice not only from the prosecutors but also from experts in various fields, including forensic, banking and financial experts, and a proposal is mooted to constitute a panel of such experts so that the investigators can take their suggestion and opinion whenever required.

Commenting on the delay in filing of chargesheets, the DGP said that investigation of certain cases needs time, but the Assam Police�s record in filing chargesheets is comparable to the national average. He said the arrested chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission Rakesh Paul managed to get default bail from the Supreme Court because of a confusion. �There was a confusion on whether the time limit for filing of the chargesheet for that case was 90 days or 60 days and he managed to get default bail because of that confusion,� he added.

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Assam Police roadmap refocuses key areas

GUWAHATI, Aug 26 - With militancy on the wane, the Assam Police is preparing a road map to refocus on key policing areas, including investigation of cases, as at present, the conviction rate of the cases investigated by the State police is much lower than the national average, while there have been instances of arrested persons getting default bail because of delay in filing of chargesheet.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, the Director General of Assam Police Mukesh Sahay admitted that for a long time, the main focus of the police force has been to deal with militancy, while other issues like shortage of investigating officers, lack of proper coordination between the investigating officers and prosecutors, etc., also affected the investigation of the cases. �Of late, militancy is on the wane and though we cannot afford to lower our guard in that front, we are preparing a roadmap to focus on key policing areas, including investigation of cases,� he added.

The DGP admitted that the conviction rate of the cases investigated by the Assam Police is only around 10 per cent, which is much lower than the national average. The rate for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is over 60 per cent and that for the National Investigating Agency (NIA) is nearly hundred per cent. However, the CBI and NIA can pick and choose cases and the officers are dedicated only to the investigation of cases as they are not engaged in other duties like maintenance of law and order. Moreover, the investigating officers of such organizations get legal advice in every step of investigation.

On the road map prepared by the Assam Police to improve investigation, the DGP said that a core team headed by himself, which also includes other senior officers, including the Additional Director General of Police of the CID, would monitor the investigation of the very important cases, while the superintendent of police of every district would monitor the process of investigation of the important cases in the districts and have regular discussions with the prosecutors so that the chargesheets are foolproof to ensure better conviction rate.

The State government has also allowed specialized police agencies, including the vigilance and anti-corruption wing, CID, etc., to have a permanent panel of prosecutors, while regular interface between the investigators and prosecutors will definitely bring in improvement in the conviction rate.

Admitting the problems faced by the police due to shortage of investigating officers, the DGP pointed out that most of the cases at the police station level are investigated by the inspectors and sub-inspectors and they cannot devote their entire time and energy to investigation because they are often busy in maintaining law and order. To deal with the problem, the Assam Police is planning to deploy some officers in selected police stations exclusively for investigation of cases.

The DGP added that 340 sub-inspectors have already been appointed and they are now under training. When these police officers are posted in the early part of next year, the situation is likely to improve considerably, he said.

Sahay further pointed out that in the present day context, policemen need expert advice not only from the prosecutors but also from experts in various fields, including forensic, banking and financial experts, and a proposal is mooted to constitute a panel of such experts so that the investigators can take their suggestion and opinion whenever required.

Commenting on the delay in filing of chargesheets, the DGP said that investigation of certain cases needs time, but the Assam Police�s record in filing chargesheets is comparable to the national average. He said the arrested chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission Rakesh Paul managed to get default bail from the Supreme Court because of a confusion. �There was a confusion on whether the time limit for filing of the chargesheet for that case was 90 days or 60 days and he managed to get default bail because of that confusion,� he added.

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