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Policing the police


Something is definitely wrong with a system that necessitates or gives room for policing the police. It may be OK if it is by a panel appointed by the higher courts with a specific purpose to nail a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But when executive bugs enter the picture and start snooping around, there is bound to heartburn among those of the khaki-clad gentry who are on the watch list or hit list.

Drone cameras found flying over the residences of two top cops of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in Hyderabad last week created a flutter not only in IPS circles but the entire bureaucratic setup. Most of the VIPs, as well as top IAS, IPS officers, reside in Hyderabad’s posh Jubilee Hills area, which is considered to be a high-security zone.

Still, when drone cameras flew over the homes of Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police D Gautam Sawang and Telangana Principal Secretary, home department, Ravi Gupta, who is also Additional Police Director General (Technology), everyone along their flight paths became alert.

For, the sorties came amidst reports that top IPS officers serving in non-BJP ruled states are under intense surveillance of the BJP-led government at the Centre, which has just transferred three top IPS officials in West Bengal without bothering to consult The Trinamool Congress-led state government. The BJP’s brass in TS has carried to the Centre tales of the saffron party’s leaders being ‘suppressed’. So, the drones’ sorties have a purpose, aver top bureaucrats. These babus are now caught between the devil and the deep sea because they cannot afford to go soft on BJP leaders’ inflammatory remarks and deeds, particularly in sensitive settings in which the ruling TRS has high stakes.

What came as an anticlimax, upon enquiry by the Jubilee Hills police, was that the drones were not surveillance birds, but “a ‘playful and a mischief act’ by a group of teenagers who reside in the neighbourhood of these two IPS officials. Since the teens got on the nerves of cops, cases have been booked against them, while footage from their drone cameras have been sent for forensic laboratory analysis.

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