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Top Karnataka cop says police can’t stop drivers of vehicles unless there is a visible violation of the rules

Top Karnataka cop says police can't stop drivers of vehicles unless there is a visible violation of the rules

An assistant sub-inspector and a chief constable from the Halasur Gate Traffic Police Department were suspended for taking bribes from an out-of-state motorist. Following their suspension, the Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG & IGP) Praveen Sood of Karnataka tweeted that no police officer can stop a vehicle to check documents unless there is visible violation of rules and regulations.

The two police officers, ASI Mahesh DC and HC Gangadharappa, demanded a bribe from a man named Santosh Kumar from Kerala, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) BR Ravikanthegowda. The two police officers regularly stopped vehicles with out-of-state registration numbers under the pretense of verifying documents, but would instead collect bribes from them. The two police officers stopped vehicles at the Devanga intersection on June 10, where they stopped Kumar’s car and found him with a sink in it.

The two then threatened to book him under a section that would require Kumar to pay a fine of Rs 20,000 in court. However, they also told him that they would let him go if he paid them Rs 2,500. The two did not give Kumar a receipt and so took the money in their pockets.

Following this incident, Kumar sent an email to senior officials who wrote about the bribery. The officers launched an investigation into the allegation and found that the duo were not carrying any body-worn cameras and had indeed collected the kickback from Kumar.

That is why Ravikanthegowda suspended the two on Monday.

This incident also prompted DG & IGP Sood to tweet about not stopping vehicles without visible rule violation – and this isn’t the first time the chief executive has come up with similar instructions – but the instructions are mostly ignored. Such instructions have been in effect for more than a decade, but traffic police officers on the roads continue to stop vehicles.

There have been incidents where traffic police trying to stop two-wheelers have resulted in serious injuries. However, the CEO apparently does not monitor whether these instructions are followed or not, unless bribery is involved, as in this case of Kumar.

Motorists must have noticed that in certain places, a group of 8-10 police officers stopped vehicles at random. While it is a clear violation of instruction by top executives, police officers of grade ASI and above have the authority to stop a vehicle if they notice alcohol or driving or a similar violation.

However, some traffic police officers claimed they were forced to stop and inspect vehicles for the purpose set by the top head, as well as to collect bribes on behalf of their seniors.

Meanwhile, in response to complaints of snarl caused by traffic police stopping vehicles for verification, DG & IGP Sood tweeted: “…repeat again…no vehicle SHOULD BE STOPPED just for checking documents unless it has committed a traffic violation that visible to the naked eye. Only exception is drink-driving. Immediately ordered @CPBlr & @jointcptraffic to implement it.”

Police Commissioner Pratap Reddy replied to the tweet: “@blrcitytraffic has been instructed to strictly adhere to the policy. If you have anything to report about this, place, date and time where the DOCUMENT CONTROL instruction is being violated, we will act strictly and promptly.”

In another tweet, Reddy stated: “By the way, #BodyWornCameras have been issued to every traffic crew. We have a digital treasure trove of activity from every person on duty. When you include location, date and time, we can request and determine anomalies. Technology @blrcitytraffic for transparency and better service.”