Hyderabad: No FIR against Rachakonda inspector accused of fraud?

Hyderabad: Although Devender, inspector of Central Crime Station (CCS), Rachakonda police, has been placed under suspension for allegedly misusing an accused’s debit card and withdrawing over Rs. 5.5 lakh through ATMs, many are confused as to why a criminal case has not been filed so far against the police official.

The accused, a businessman named Kamal Kabra, was arrested by the L. B Nagar CCS of the Rachakonda police in connection with a car theft case in February. When he was arrested, inspector Devender took the debit card from Kamal Kabra and sent him to judicial remand. After obtaining bail, Kamal Kabra went to the bank and checked his account.

To his surprise, Kabra found many transactions amounting to Rs 5.5 lakh were made using the debit card which he had actually handed over to the police inspector after his arrest.

Suspecting foul play, Kamal Kabra then approached the Rachakonda Commissioner who heard his case and ordered an internal enquiry. The police teams found the withdrawals were made by a woman from Tirupathi and other places in Andhra Pradesh. After tracking the woman, the police found out that she was related to the Rachakonda inspector and the card was handed over to her by Devender himself.

After the enquiry, Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M Bhagwat placed the inspector under suspension and ordered a departmental enquiry against him.

What is a departmental enquiry?

In a departmental enquiry, a memo is issued appointing a senior official to conduct a probe into any alleged misconduct by public servants. In this case, the malfeasance is by a police officer. In inspector Devender’s case, it has been learnt that a senior policeman, above the additional deputy commissioner rank is reported to have been entrusted with the task of conducting the enquiry.

The first point the official will inquire into is under what circumstances the inspector collected the card, and whether he mentioned it in the seizure report or not. Second point is how the card got into the hands of an outsider who is not connected with the police department.

“Basing on the enquiry report the action is initiated. If an act done by anyone is proved to be of grave nature –a major punishment – is given, which could even lead to dismissal from service,” explained a senior retired police official.

However, given the nature of the case, the police on receiving a complaint from the owner of the debit card can register a criminal case and take up investigation. “Act done by the Inspector amounts to criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of funds and theft,” the official added.

The female connected to inspector Devender, who took the debit card from him and withdrew money, will also face criminal charges as she used the debit card illegally.

 “At this point the investigators cannot say if the woman had withdrawn the amount to meet her own expenses or did it at the instance of the inspector himself. Only after a probe will the facts emerge,” a former police official pointed out.

If arrested, the Rachakonda police inspector can go to jail along with his female friend and will spend time till he obtains bail. A common refrain in public is when a commoner commits any crime, the police arrest and send him to jail after thorough thrashing, but the exemption in this particular case clearly points to prejudice the police have towards its own.