'It is the evil combination of ambitious police officers who don't bother about serving the people and support unscrupulous politicians.'
Julio Ribeiro has said that he will not be a part of any inquiry to be set up by the Maharashtra government to probe the allegations made by Param Bir Singh, who was recently transferred as the city's police commissioner.
"I am too old; I can't move. I am confined to the house, how will I inquire? My mind is active, but not my legs," the 92-year-old legendary police officer tells Prasanna D Zore.Rediff.com over the phone.
Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar had suggested Mr Ribeiro's name to probe Param Bir Singh's allegations that state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had asked police officers to collect Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) in bribes every month from Mumbai's bars and pubs, even as he left it to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to appoint a person, 'who commands respect both in the police administration and the public at large.'
Mr Ribeiro, who never permitted political interference during his tenure as Bombay's police commissioner between 1980 and 1984, blamed the corrupt leadership for the current state of affairs.
"They should have good leaders, not leaders who are corrupt. They themselves (the politicians) want to make money so they appoint such people (corrupt police officers). Then what do you do about that? You should clean the leadership and stop this," he says.
"They should appoint somebody who has a clean image and not involved in all this nonsense. It is their fault. The leaders want the system to be this way," he adds.
"You know what happens when they initiate a probe under the Commissions of Inquiry Act. Such inquiries take a long time to come to a conclusion and then they put it in cold storage. Even the judges are now fed up. They know nothing comes out of all their hard work," says Mr Ribeiro, when asked about a court-monitored probe.
Ask what would be his suggestion to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to improve its credibility before the people and a furious Mr Ribeiro says, "I would rather appeal to the people than to the government. The government, for sure, is not going to do anything in this matter."
"It is the people who should protest and make it known that if you act like this, you won't get our support. It is only when they get hit by people's votes will they stop engaging in all such nonsense."
"It is the evil combination of ambitious police officers who don't bother about serving the people and support unscrupulous politicians," is how he explains the current situation in the Mumbai police.