HC directs VACB to carry out preliminary inquiry into bribe allegations against cops in Kochi

Kerala HC. Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) to carry out a preliminary inquiry into allegations involved in the case of some police officers who travelled to Delhi at the expense of the parents of two girls for tracing their daughters.

Justice Devan Ramachandran gave the directive considering the suggestion made by the Amicus Curiae appointed by the court in ascertaining whether prosecution can be initiated against the officers one of whom had allegedly also demanded Rs 5 lakh from the parents to hand over custody of their daughters who were rescued from the national capital.

"...the VACB will cause a necessary preliminary enquiry into the various allegations involved in this case - but not merely confined to the demand of bribe alone - and file a comprehensive report before this Court in a sealed cover for further orders," the order said and adjourned the case to February 11.

It further said, if, after such an inquiry, the VACB is convinced that further action is required, it would not stop them from initiating such, notwithstanding the fact that the Court has not seen their report until February 11.

Justice Ramachandran said the resolve of the Court is to make the police an honest, civilized, modern and accountable force.

"It is only if the indiscretions of a few individuals in the force are taken note of and stringent action completed, will it serve as an example to others, leading to the force being a truly worthy one," the judge said.

"As long as the police officers even obliquely obtain the impression that they will be supported in spite of their misdemeanors, the eventual requirements of a strong policing and honest law enforcement would remain a chimera," it observed.

Earlier, the court had perused a report filed by the Commissioner of Police, Kochi, who had stated that the officers did not avail of the Railway travel warrants or advance travelling allowance that they were entitled to.

Instead they travelled by air at the expense of the parents, the report had said and added that the Assistant Sub Inspector in the team also took Rs 17,000 from the elder girl towards his and others boarding and lodging expenses.

The report had also said that the amounts taken from the family would be returned or reimbursed. PTI

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