When the police ended up being policed

A policeman kicking a woman and dragging her by the hair is not something one would forget in a hurry. Thousands of citizens watched this video in horror — on January 29 this year, when a traffic ASI attached to the Halasuru gate traffic station was caught on camera kicking a woman in the stomach and dragging her by the hair in the street. He accused her of pelting stones at the police vehicle.  

The year gone by is going to be remembered by the Karnataka police for many wrong reasons. In this incident, the woman was later arrested on charges of attacking policemen. She turned out to be the attendant of an illegal parking lot. When policemen came to tow away the vehicles that she was guarding, she vented her ire by pelting stones at them.

In response to this, the ASI kicked her and dragged her by her hair. The video of his assault went viral, and caused a huge public outcry. The accused officer was suspended.

Close on the heels of this incident came another video on social media. The video showed the towing vehicle staff carrying away a seized bike while the bike owner was running haplessly behind the vehicle, asking them to return his vehicle. Once again, there was huge outcry on social media. Police were flooded with angry messages. People questioned the audacity and brutality of the police and the towing system, and alleged the police of corruption, which led the government to suspend the towing system till date.

After these two incidents, traffic related problems, including complaints about corruption among officials and bad traffic management, had dogged the police and the State government. The government was forced to review the traffic situation, and create a post of special commissioner for traffic management – to rehaul the traffic management system and also to repair the image of the government and the police.

PSI recruitment scam

While the traffic police were still striving to build a friendlier image and gain public trust, news of a scam swept through law enforcement agencies in August, again bringing discredit to the department. A senior IPS officer, heading the recruitment department, was arrested in the case of what is commonly known now as the PSI recruitment scam. The police have now arrested more than 50 people, including Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Amrit Paul, BJP leader and Jnana Jyothi English Medium School head Divya Hagaragi, Congress block president Mahanthesh D. Patil, his brother Rudragouda Patil, Afzalpur Congress MLA’s gunman Hayyali Desai, Manjunath Melakundi, an assistant engineer, several police officials, and many candidates who topped the list of successful candidates.

Amrit Paul, who is in judicial custody and yet to get bail, had allegedly received crores of rupees through his staff to manipulate OMR answer sheets from the strong room of the CID headquarters. The CID are investigating the scam and have arrested over 120 people, including many serving police personnel for their involvement.

There was further embarasment as four policemen were suspended following allegations of harassment and extortion in December.

Even as these controversies rocked the department, the State police have tried to retain their reputation as the best force in the country. They cracked many sensational cases in record time, and even filed charge-sheets within nine days. The police have also brought in innovations such as Mobile-Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (M-CCTNS). They also revamped the beat system — bringing many advances in night beats and crime investigation systems.

Some crime stories that hogged the headlines this year

November 2022: A 22-year old woman was allegedly raped by a bike taxi driver and his friend, when she had hired the service to get dropped at a friend’s place.

November 2022: The Halasuru gate police arrested as many as 14 people including four officials of the BBMP or their involvement in voters data theft racket. The BBMP officials allegedly entrusted the project to Chilume Trust for election related survey, which eventually misused the data for personal gain.

November 2022: A 46-year-old suspended inspector died of cardiac arrest in a private hospital. This led a social activist to file a complaint with the Bangalore City Police Commissioner against Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj, alleging them of harassing the inspector.

November 2022: An investigation into the mysterious death of a 67-year-old man whose body was found on the roadside revealed that he had died while having sex with his domestic help in JP Nagar. The woman and her husband had panicked and dumped his body by the roadside.

November 2022: The city police arrested a 45-year-old software engineer who allegedly killed his two-year-old daughter by strangulating her and throwing her body in a lake claiming that he did not have money to feed her. The accused, Rahul Parmar, is a native of Gujarat.

November 2022: A group of six people, including three women, were arrested for killing a man by crushing him to death with boulder over an illicit affair. The entire incident was caught on CCTV.

October 2022: John D’Cruz, a 60-year-old man, was arrested by the RT Nagar police for trying to kill his 88-year-old ailing mother by cutting off her oxygen supply. This act followed a property dispute.

August 2022: Upset over her four-year-old daughter’s disability, a woman flung the girl down from the fourth floor of her apartment in SR Nagar. The girl died due to the impact.

August 2022: Gopalakrishna Gowda, an inspector at the KP Agarahara police station in western Bengaluru, allegedly abused and threatened a hotel manager after she declined to give him a room in a hotel in Indiranagar.

June 2022: Bollywood actor Siddhanth Kapoor and four others were arrested for taking drugs at a party in a five-star hotel. Siddhanth, son of Shakti Kapoor and elder brother of actor Shraddha Kapoor, was detained by the Halasuru police.

May 2022: Nagesh Babu threw acid on a 25-year-old girl at her workplace for refusing his proposal. He was on the run for 16 days. The Kamakshipalya police arrested him  from an ashram in Tamil Nadu, where he had joined a program,  on April 28.  The victim had suffered 30% burns and is recovering at a hospital.

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