Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: The state government never shies away from making tall claims about the stringent prohibition laws to implement alcohol ban in Gujarat. But it also a bitter truth that many of the important branches of the Gujarat police have to depend on the bribe money earned from bootleggers and gamblers to spend on crime detection. Because there is a lack of secret fund for these branches. In 2009, when IPS Abhay Chudasama was the deputy police commissioner of the Ahmedabad Crime Branch, the infamous spurious liquor deaths had happened. Over 150 people, mostly breadwinners of poor families residing in the western part of the city, died of liquor poisoning in a span of two days.

IPS Chudasama then called his staff and instructed them that they will not accept any money from anyone in matters pertaining to liquor. He said “More than 150 deaths have occurred due to the spurious liquor consumption in Ahmedabad and as police officers, you all must desist from taking any money from those peddling liquor. I leave the decision now on you all”

The Crime Branch, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and the Special Operations Group (SOG) were tasked with the investigation of this case. But the cops were under severe lack of necessary infrastructure to solve cases like this. The situation hasn’t improved much, for example, constables are still paid a cycle allowance along with their salaries.

The man has set his foot on the moon, the country is about to get its first bullet train but the policemen in today’s advanced age are still paid an allowance for the maintenance of their bicycles. It is laughable and extremely insulting. It doesn’t stop here. Cops who are of the rank of police inspectors are still given coupons for train and state transport buses, for their travels outside Gujarat as a part of their investigation.

In another instance, The Ahmedabad Crime Branch had set out to nab gangster Mukesh Harjani from Vadodara. Several teams had set out in search of him, amongst them was a police officer who had borrowed his friend’s brand new SUV to travel. On return from their operation, the SUV met with an accident, where a constable was injured and the vehicle suffered great damage. The police officers not only bought a brand new SUV to his friend but also took care of the medical expenses of the constable. None of his seniors asked him on where he got the money to pay off such huge expenditure, for obvious reasons.

The criminals today make good their escape using SUVs and flights from one state to another, but our cops are expected to catch up with them by trains and buses. The police today must travel by the fastest modes of transport irrespective of the costs when their investigations take them to far off places outside the state. But according to the rule, only cops who are of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) and above are allowed air travel. If a police inspector or a sub-inspector travel by flight, the government doesn’t reimburse him/her the expenditure that they bore from their own pocket.

No government servant fulfills his/her duties by spending money from their own pockets. Policemen not only have to spend on flight travels for their investigations but sometimes also pay decent sums of money to their sources who give valuable tip-offs to them to help them crack cases. That the money spent on crime detection are funded with the money earned from bootleggers and gamblers is a fact that every senior police officer knows. These expenditures cannot be shown on police accounts.

IPS Chudasama, who is currently the Range IGP of Vadodara, has still maintained his rule of not letting his staff accept money in the name of liquor prohibition.

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