Anti-corruption sleuths using voice, video recordings to trap accused

October 7, 2008: The Times of India

New Delhi: The sleuths of Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch are all geared up to sting sarkari babus and police officials found breaking the law.
  
The sleuths have stung as many as 13 police personnel using voice and video recordings over the last six months, not including the CP sting. Complainants too have come forward with recordings of their own. The sensational bribery case involving SHO Sarita Vihar and other personnel, that came to light in September, was an example of a classic sting operation.
  
From setting up traps, secretly making voice recordings to capturing video footage with hidden cameras, all this has become a regular feature in investigations at the Anti-Corruption Branch. In fact, the Branch has even approached Delhi government for purchase of essential equipment for sting operations so that the process can be organized more thoroughly.
  
Speaking to Times City, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACB), N Dilip Kumar revealed that the sting operations had improved investigation results tremendously. “A common problem that we face is how to establish before the court that the complaint on the basis of which a corruption case is registered is genuine. It is lack of evidence which often results in a case falling flat. Thus, sting operations is what the ACB now resorts to, to get evidence,¶ Dilip Kumar added.
  
So far, the methods used for executing stings were very basic, points Kumar. Basic voice recorders, mobile phone recordings and some play-acting were the primary tools. In certain cases, hidden cameras have also been used.
  
Interestingly, the complainant is being involved in the sting to catch the culprits red-handed. “Earlier, the strategy adopted by the ACB involved registering a case on the basis of a complaint. But there were chances of errors in that case as it waspossible that someone may have registered a complaint just to settle scores and tarnish his reputation. Now, as we first try to establish evidence through stings, it prevents people from misusing the system,¶ Kumar elaborated.
  
Kumar cited the sensational bribery case involving SHO Sarita Vihar to show the sting process. In that case, a sting was conducted when Sopal, a transport operator from Sarita Vihar area, complained of a bribe demand from the police station for the trimming of a tree at his brother-in-law’s residence.
  
Two sting operations revealed a demand of Rs 10,000 by the head constable Ram Dayal and constable Dulli Chand, of which Rs 5,000 was to be shared with SHO Rajender Singh. Later, the AC Branch caught the head constable and constable accepting part of the bribe — Rs 2,500. The duo and the SHO were placed under arrest.
  
Interestingly, in a number of cases people have themselves carried out stings and submitted recordings and CDs to the ACB. For instance, in a case related to Paschim Vihar Police Station, one Rajbeer Kumar Bansal gave a written complaint to ACB saying he had videographed a constable named Chandbeer demanding and accepting Rs 1,000 bribe from him for not arresting him despite a non-bailable warrant. He produced a video CD which led to the constable’s arrest. In another case Surender, head constable of a police post at Sector 16, Rohini, was exposed when one Kiran Chauhan produced a recorded conversation of his demand for a bribe to release her husband, who had been arrested in a case of quarrelling. Earlier the ACB had laid a trap to catch Surender redhanded, but the constable never turned up. He is yet to be arrested.

STING IN THE TALE   

Sting operations used to nab or expose 13 police personnel for involvement in corruption cases in 6 months
  
Voice recording used to trap Labour Welfare Commissioner Ramesh G Tajnekar. He was caught red-handed while demanding and accepting Rs 1,000 from a complainant to issue a labour clearing certificate. Tajnekar was arrested
  
Voice recording used to trap MCD engineers for accepting bribes to avoid demolishing a property in Shahdara Zone. In another case, voice and video recordings provide leads into a bribery case to de-seal a shop

The Anti-Corruption Branch has cast its net across the capital to nail corrupt officials and it’s not averse to using technology for it

The anti-corruption branch has been executing sting operations for the last 6 months

Voice recording, hidden cameras and scripted acts used to trap the accused and establish the crime

Complainants too have come forward with recordings of their own

ACB has approached Delhi government seeking new equipment for more organized sting operations

One SHO, a head constable and a constable from Sarita Vihar arrested for demanding a bribe. Hidden voice recorder used to generate evidence

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