Bhopal, Dec 13 (IANS) Can the Madhya Pradesh government take its fight against organised crime to a logical conclusion?
While Chief Minister Kamal Nath wants his bureaucracy to come up with proposals to enact a stringent law like Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to deal with the Mafiosi his home minister says existing laws are enough to break the back of criminals and mafia.
At a meeting of senior police and civil administrative officers on Thursday, Nath said the government has given the police a free hand to take strongest action against the mafia. Top officers of the four major cities of Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur attended the meeting. The government would soon bring a law (like MCOCA) against organised crime, the Chief Minister had said.
However, Home Minister Bala Bachchan insisted after a meeting with police officers of Gwalior range on Friday that existing laws are good enough to deal with such crimes as was seen in Indore and Gwalior.
The Chief Minister took a stern position as the state police have a long record of backtracking on action taken against criminals under pressure from politicians or senior officials. There is also a lurking fear that the bureaucracy and political clan deeply influenced by the honeytrap gang want the investigation process stalled.
Videos that have gone viral show a former Chief Minister (now deceased) and many other former ministers and current bureaucrats and senior police officials have been sucked into the trap. A key mafioso, Jitu Soni, who ran a media business and was involved in big ticket land grabbing has been targeted by the government during a fortnight-long drive. He also owned sleaze dens and was accused of human trafficking.
Indore Senior Superintendent of Police Ruchivardhan Mishra’s suggestion during the meeting for a political consensus on the issue came as a measure of pressure on the police force. The Chief Minister was visibly irritated and asked why was anybody else was required to be consulted after the top executive of the state took a call on the issue.
“The public is disgusted with the Mafiosi. Many people have complained to me. In view of these complaints I have given a free hand to the police to take direct action,” said Nath.
He said that police and administration should wreak havoc on perpetrators of organised crime. “I want to see Madhya Pradesh mafia-free. The state will have to be freed from all types of mafia, whether they are extortionists, land mafia, drug mafia or cooperative mafia.”
“I don’t want this just for optics or for news headlines, I want a certificate of the results of the proceedings against the mafia from the public,” the Chief Minister said.
“An Indore businessman complained to me about Jitu Soni a month ago saying he was blackmailing people. I asked for details about him and was shocked that this mafia has been in the business of encroaching upon property of people for a long time. I then directed the administration to take strict action.”
The Chief Minister said that the mafia have to be brought under the law and punished severely. The action should be exemplary and the message should be loud and clear. A separate branch in police headquarters and a special court was also proposed for dealing with organised crime. He clarified that action should not be influenced by the political badges of the offenders. No matter how much anyone seeks to influence the police, the mafia should be put behind bars.
Soni has been absconding since November 30 when his nightclub and other establishments were raided in connection with the honeytrap case. The police claimed to have rescued 67 women and seven children during these raids. Many of his properties have been demolished. The action was taken days after Soni’s eveninger published stories about the infamous honeytrap case. Soni’s son Amit was arrested and remanded in police custody.
Suspended IMC engineer Harbhajan Singh, the complainant in the honeytrap case, had last week filed an FIR against Soni under the Information Technology Act for publishing objectionable material against him through different media.
In September this year, five women and a man were arrested from Indore and Bhopal for allegedly running the honeytrap and blackmailing racket.