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Home > News > Report

Of cops and politicians

A Correspondent in Mumbai | August 26, 2003 20:41 IST

It is not just the traders who appeared to be affected by the visit of politicians to their locality, causing a second disruption just a day after Monday's twin blasts in Mumbai. The police commissioner's office, too, was deserted.

R S Sharma holds an open house every working day from 3 pm to 5 pm, where people troop in with all sorts of complaints - against local thugs, against other policemen for not acting upon their complaints, and even against husbands. And every now and then, some elderly lady starts weeping even as the harried police commissioner promises to look into her problems.

Complete Coverage of the Mumbai Blasts

Yet every now and then, this routine is broken -- like when there is a major festival that requires the commissioner's attention or when there is a calamity.

This routine also goes for a toss when top politicians decide to visit the city, and this happened on Tuesday. The commissioner was not in his office in the afternoon, and his assistants said he would be busy with the VIPs.

Thus it was that Sharma was organising the reception of Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi. Both of them visited Jhaveri Bazaar, site of the second blast, within 40 minutes of each other, where they were shown the mangled remains of the taxi that carried the explosives.

So does the presence of such VIPs in the city barely 24 hours after a tragedy affect the police's investigations?

Former commissioner Julio Ribeiro dismissed any such notion. "It is not the police commissioner's job to investigate," he said. "There must be hundreds of policemen and police officers doing that right now."

But asked if the commissioner should at least be involved with the investigation at such a time, Ribeiro again disagreed. "It is the commissioner's job to brief the deputy prime minister and the leader of the opposition about what is happening and answer their queries. That is his job. And the men involved with the investigation will be doing their job.

"If I were police commissioner, I would be receiving the VVIPs."

Incidentally, alongside the police commissioner were two joint commissioners. Satyapal Singh is in-charge of crime while Javed Ahmed is in-charge of law and order. Additional commissioners and deputy commissioners in turn assist the joint commissioners.

Given the recent disaster and the looming Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, Mumbai's biggest festival, meeting the police commissioner at his durbar might not be so easy over the next few days.

More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts

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