Assam police accountability panel asks govt to take steps against officers for misconduct

Guwahati, Feb 11 (PTI) The State Police Accountability Commission of Assam has directed that departmental actions be initiated against senior IPS officer Anurag Agarwal, Kokrajhar SP Rajen Singh and others for “either misconduct and/or serious misconduct”.

In its Annual Report for 2019, which was tabled in Assam Assembly on Thursday, the Commission headed by former Justice B P Katakey also criticised the Home and Political Department of the state government for questioning its jurisdiction in probing the case involving the officers.

The report said that the Commission had passed an order on August 26, 2019 directing departmental actions against the then Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) IG Anurag Agarwal and Kokrajhar SP Rajen Singh for “commission of either ‘misconduct’ and/or ‘serious misconduct’, within the aforesaid provisions of law”.

The report did not elaborate on the misconduct or serious misconduct committed by them.

The order was issued against the then Additional SP Tabu Ram Pegu, Deputy SP Prakash Medhi, Inspector Rabin Choudhury, Sub-Inspector Majen Barman and Sub-Inspector Latuk Das under the same charges.

“Thereafter, though under the provisions of the (Assam Police) Act, the Deputy Secretary to the Government of Assam has no jurisdiction, a communication dated 18.11.2019 was issued purportedly with the approval of the Additional Chief Secretary, Home and Political Department,” it said.

The communication questioned for the first time the jurisdiction of the Commission to make an enquiry and to pass an order in respect of the allegation of ‘misconduct’ found to have been committed by a police officer, the report said.

The communication has been rejected by the Commission vide an order on November 11, 2019, which was also sent to the Home Department of the Government of Assam, it added.

On December 27 that year, the Secretary of the Home and Political Department again sent a communication reiterating that the mandate of the Commission “does not include making enquiry into the allegations of misconduct”.

“The Secretary…has failed to take into consideration the fact that the aforementioned police officers were found guilty of commission of not only the ‘misconduct’ but also of ‘serious misconduct’, within the aforesaid provisions of law,” it said.

The Commission, set up in 2008, said that it is a statutory body and has jurisdiction to enquire into allegations of misconduct by any police personnel.

“Any view taken contrary to the same would defeat the very purpose of enacting the Assam Police Act, 2007,” the four-member Commission said.

The Commission further said that it received a total of 317 complaints in 2019 against a number of officials of Assam Police across the state.

These complaints are related to molestation and rape, blackmailing, non-registration of FIR, police inaction, harassment and atrocities, and misuse of power, the report stated.