Namma Alex Pandi – 1
Monday, July 22nd, 2013 @ 8:30PM
Namma Alex Pandi is a series of real life episodes, highlighting the stories of citizens who suffer at the hands of the wrong man in Khaki uniform. Do contact us if you have been a victim too.
Namma Alex Pandi!! (can we caricature a detective look)
Kumar and Manimegalai were a regular lower middle class couple. They worked hard and brought up their children, living in a small rented room in a housing tenement in Mylapore in the heart of Chennai city.
The tenement had about 11 such rooms. The owner of the tenements building decided to sell the building as he lived in Villupuram and as he was getting old, he could not come regularly and collect rents. Kumar offered to buy the building – after all it was the building in which he had grown up. He approached a bank, made a down payment and with the confidence that the rentals would help him meet the monthly installments of the bank, he took the bank loan to purchase the property for about 15 lakhs.
Now enters the villain. A local rowdy-in-grooming, by the name Vellakumar. He is rumoured to be an absconding offender in atleast one murder case and one land grabbing case in two other police stations. Only the police can elaborate further on his colourful history. He lived on encroached land on the road and is in the process of consolidating his hold on his kingdom – Dharmapuri in Mylapore – yes, believe it or not, in the heart of Chennai Metropolis!! His support team includes his very aggressive family, comprising two wives and parents. His mother, Eswari, has great hopes for her son. The family ably supports Vellakumars nefarious activities. He has also cultivated an army of ‘aravanis’ to join him when he needs to embarrass anybody.
Vellakumar’s is a story that is worth observation by a film producer. On the streets Vellakumar learnt one thing – there are good policemen and there are rogues. Find a rogue one, cultivate a relationship with him – and you can become king. Thus did Vellakumar’s deep friendship begin with our anti-hero of this story – Inspector M.
As this story unfolds, Vellakumar has already victimized atleast 2 other families and grabbed their properties. Those stories we shall write about some other day. Now we will focus only on his attack on Kumar and Manimegalai.
Now, Vellakumar knew that the Villupuram owner was having trouble managing his property. Like a hawk he kept watch to find his weak moment. The minute he decided to sell the property Vellakumar approached him to sell it to him. Knowing Vellakumar’s reputation of grabbing property and not paying the price, the Villupuram owner refused to deal with him. Vellakumar then targeted Kumar.
Now began the Machiavellian tactics of the duo- Vellakumar and Inspector M.
Vellakumar identified Najima, one of the other tenants in the tenements, as a single lady living alone. He paid her off to take up residence elsewhere and leave her room to him. He, one of his wives and his mother trespassed into the room without the owners permission and started their dirt campaign from there. It was all out war for them thereafter. They stood around in the corridor and hurled filthy abuses at Kumar and his family. They threatened to kidnap his children, beat them up, and do all kinds of filthy stuff.
In the hope that this problem would settle down once the registration was done, Kumar and the owner had decided to register the sale transaction on April. While they were at the Registrars office, vellakumar and his paid team of aravanis descended on the registrars office, attacked the owner and his son, and prevented the registrar from executing the sale deed. It became a Law and order issue and the pattanipakkam police were called by the Registrar to diffuse the situation. With his clout and tactics, Vellakumar managed to ensure that the registration did not happen that day.
Kumar and the owner then fixed another day to do the registration. This time Kumar was better prepared. He asked his lawyers to accompany him and the registrar was alert to criminal interference this time. The property thus got registered and now Kumar became the owner of the tenements building. But Kumar and his family were not allowed entry into their own property!!! Vellakumar and his gang headed by his mother kept a watchful eye on the entry and if Kumar or his family members tried to enter the building they would swoop down on them and attack them. Straight out of a movie-scene!! For this very, very clever strategy alone, Vellakumar and his advisory team headed by Inspector M requires the ‘Legal Luminary Award’!! You may think one has to raise one’s voice against injustice. But the important point is TO WHOM? Here, Kumar and his family went to the local police station to file their complaint against Vellakumar for trespass and assault, little realizing that they were walking into the well-laid out trap. Their complaint had to be investigated by none other than INSPECTOR M!! He made them wait for days together, sent them off, called them the next day, told them he was on CM’s bandobast duty and would only come in the evening, told them he was on vehicle checks duty and would not come in till late night, etc. The station was positioned such that the ordinary citizen couldn’t access the superior officer without crossing the Inspector’s territory. Thus he used his first weapon in the war to protect rowdyism against the citizen – MAKE THE CITIZEN FEEL ALONE AND UNPROTOECTED. Make the citizen feel that the police have no time for his petty problems. Remember, meanwhile Kumar and his family are being prevented from entering their own home by these trespassers, and are now living as refugees in relatives’ homes. Every evening they went back to their relatives and reported that the police had not taken action. And strange as it sounds, their complaint was simply a paper lying in some desk drawer of that police station. Because no CSR number was given or no FIR was registered and copy given.
Then INSPECTOR M brought out his next weapon – he romanticised the Villain. He painted a colour of gentlemanliness for the goonda Vellakumar. He countered Kumar and his family with complaints given by Vellakumar – that he was a long-time tenant; that Kumar was attacking him; that Kumar had tried to molest his old mother; etc. He pulled out a list of complaints filed by the goonda Vellakumar and his family against Kumar and his family! Thus did INSPECTOR M put the FEAR OF THE LAW into the victim!!
Then INSPECTOR M went for the kill. He adivised Kumar, “Why do you want to get into all these problems? Why don’t you give the house to him?”
It was at this stage that Lok Satta members met Kumar and his family, and gave them confidence that the system had ways of hearing complaints against a rogue inspector. But at what cost?. Kumar met the Commissioner of Police, who was kind enough to refer the matter to the Assistant Commissioner of Police of that station, who in turn was kind enough to trust Inspector M himself to investigate!! Kumar met the Joint Commissioner, who immediately made a few calls to confirm the veracity of Vellakumar’s antecedents and was kind enough to refer the matter to the DC with the instruction to put the goonda under a binding order. (A binding order is a tool used by police stations to keep their local history sheeters under a warning and observation). The DC heard Kumar’s story and was kind enough to ask the Assistant Commissioner to investigate, who in turn was kind enough to trust Inspector M himself to investigate. Thus every road ultimately ended with INSPECTOR M!!
Now, the AC is a strange officer. He called both parties to his room and asked some questions. It was clear by documentation that Kumar had become the owner of the property. The previous owner came in from Villupuram and asserted that till he had sold the property to Kumar, he had never permitted VellaKumar or any of his family members to get into any of the tenements. One would think that would be sufficient proof. Yet, the AC decided to ask Vellakumars mother if she had documents to show that she was a long-time resident. And she said that she has a ration- card! And he smirked “ah…then she is a resident there”. Now obviously this gentleman knows that a ration card can be produced by any Tom, Dick and Harry showing even the AC’s own house address, but that does not entitle him to get possession of the AC’s house. Secondly, the AC did not even ask for the production of the ration card and other corroborative documents. Instead INSPECTOR M took the stand “Vellakumar’s mother is going to get a stay in June, against being evicted.” And that was the limits of the AC’s investigation. Either he was in collusion with INSPECTOR M, or … sorry, can’t think of any other choices. INSPECTOR M came out of the ACs room and said “anyway Vellakumars mother is an old lady and will die in a few years. Let her stay there.”
Whether a binding order was put or not is not known, but Vellakumar continues to live in the tenement he trespassed into. Kumar and his family have not been allowed to enter their property yet. Every time they try they are assaulted and abused. The last we heard from them their morale was breaking and they were ready to give in to INSPECTOR M’s demands.
And thus will Vellakumar become richer by one more grabbed property; and thus will a few more citizens rue that India does not provide security to her ordinary citizens; and thus will the team of the rogue INSPECTOR M and the goonda vellakumar get away with manimegalai. The police and legal systems, knowing fully well that they are the kings within the policing system. The common man on the street deals with the Inspector; and if the Inspector turns rogue, the common man can quickly be brought to his knees.
If Namma Alex Pandi were here he would ask:
1. Will the Commissioner transfer this investigation to another Station and another set of officers who cannot be influenced by INSPECTOR M or those associated with him in his station?
2. Will the Commissioner do an audit of what went wrong in the Complaint mechanism, such that even when the citizen complained to senior officers about INSPECTOR M, he was ultimately sent right back to the same INSPECTOR M for investigation?
3. Will the Commissioner investigate the following:
(a) why a CSR and FIR were never registered on Kumars complaints so far?
(b) Why INSPECTOR M lied to the DC that Vellakumars mother had obtained a stay order and hence investigation could be closed?
(c) Why INSPECTOR M insists that Kumar hand over the property to Vellakumar?
(d) Why INSPECTOR M told Kumar to give a statement that the matter has been compromised with VELLAKUMAR?
(e) WHY INSPECTOR M insists that Vellakumar’s mother be allowed to stay on in the tenement, despite the previous owner asserting that she was never a resident there?
(f) Why INSPECTOR M has a problem calling this a crime of trespass, and instead is trying to convert this into some civil issue of eviction?
There are stations that do a good job of policing, despite constraints of poor infrastructure and overworked personnel. And then there are stations where the INSPECTOR M’s run their own fiefdoms, hidden from the eyes of the police department. Will Commissioner George, known for his bold action, be able to expose INSPECTOR M?
The Hon’ble Supreme Court had recommended 7 essential steps towards urgent police reforms. One of these was the direction to all States to set up a Police Complaints Authority to deal with these kind of matters. Tamil Nadu has taken no initiative in this direction. Namma Alex Pandi hopes to nudge the state in that direction.