The Kerala police chief employs 36 police personnel for personal work, it has emerged, even as a controversy rages over the misuse of camp followers by top Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in the state. Of the 36 cops doing personal duties for Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behera, 11 are camp followers.
The camp followers association alleges that the other 25 have been engaged for work including those listed as security duties. The association has demanded that they be called back. Some have now been sent back to camps after the row erupted following the brutal assault on a police driver by the daughter of ADGP Sudesh Kumar.
However, policemen themselves claim a section in the force seek to work with VIPs. There are those who want to be with ministers, ex-ministers, prominent political leaders and religious leaders. Such duty with VIP helps them to stay on there for several years. The leaders will recommend them for continued work with them if they are pleased.
The cops will stay on, enjoying the power they will get because of the proximity to the leader. The VIP duty also exempts them from wearing the uniform. They can also stay away from duties of law-and-order enforcement, from training at the camps, and deployment at tense areas.
There are also cops who continue to work with retired hands on such assignments.
Tomin J Thachankary, when he was ADGP at the police headquarters (PHQ), had taken a count of those who perform tasks other than duties assigned in the police force and those who do security duty for politicians and other VIPs. The numbers were a stunning 3,200.
A report was then submitted to the DGP, but to no avail. Neither was there any support from the department to the effort.
A cop was found serving at the PHQ for six years, illegally drifting from the camp. He was drawing his salary from the camp while working at the PHQ. His name wasn’t available in the PHQ register, but was found in the camp register. A deputy superintendent (DySP) was spotted drawing his salary without doing any work for years. His ‘holidaying’ was in the name of an illness which he had several years ago, and for which he had produced a certificate. All these were cited in the ADGP’s report, but it was just ignored.
Significantly, there is no system in place at the PHQ to check on cops who are doing other duties as ordered by top officers.