Gwalior: A vegetable vendor, two daily wage labourers and a painter – meet the alleged impostor boys of law enforcement. This motley crew purportedly roamed the streets of Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior city dressed up as police personnel and also ran a fake police station allegedly in connivance with an inspector.
More intriguing is the inaction in the case, say critics, as the police administration is yet to act in the matter despite a probe finding foul play.
The inquiry report was allegedly buried and only came to light when activist and Vyapam scam whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi sought information from police under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The matter came to light when a senior police officer reached Gwalior’s mela ground to carry out an inspection and four ‘policemen’ in uniform approached him and offered salute.
Growing suspicious, the officer stopped them and enquired about their credentials. The men then claimed that they were members of the Nagar Raksha Samiti (city defence society, constituted under MP laws) and donned the police uniform on the instructions of traffic inspector Arvind Dangi.
After being briefed about the incident, the superintendent of Gwalior ordered a probe into the matter through a DSP-level officer.
The investigation carried out last year revealed that the four people were actually daily wage earners and were supposed to help police in traffic management. The probe also revealed that the traffic inspector was aware about these men. However, after about a year, no action has been taken against the officer or the others.
The men – identified as Rinkesh, Surendra, Kamal and Shivam – told investigators that they were appointed as members of the Nagar Raksha Samiti and denied that they extorted money from anyone.
It is alleged that the group ran a phoney police station, even taking complaints from locals, and was also responsible for extorting money from truckers and other residents of the area.
Speaking to News18, Chaturvedi said wearing an outfit resembling a police uniform is also illegal and a punishable crime. He added that no action has been initiated against Dangi who has, in fact, been promoted as reserve inspector (RI).
The activist said the gang had up to 40 members and was involved in extortion, loot and even prostitution. “I demand the special investigation team (SIT) formed in honey trap case should take up this probe,” he said. “I would approach the court to get the culprits punished.”
The probe report also suggests that from the statements of Sonu Singh, captain of the Nagar Raksha Samiti, it appears Dangi was involved in suspicious activities.
However, the reserve inspector, while speaking to local media, rejected the allegations levelled against him and also said that the uniform was offered to Nagar Raksha Samiti members.
Gwalior’s superintendent of police Navnit Bhasin told News18 that on the basis of the inquiry report, a show-cause notice has been issued to the RI and further action would be taken on the basis of his reply.
The officer, however, did not comment on the purported delay in action.
A senior officer at the police headquarters, wishing anonymity, said that even if someone is drafted into the Nagar Raksha Samiti for traffic management, he or she cannot put on a police uniform. Normally such volunteers are given reflective jackets, said the officer.