16 Sep 2023  |   07:06am IST

A DGP is a servant of the public. The public & its representatives have the right to demand accountability

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai’s ‘advice’ or media questions on Goa police’s functioning are not ‘unsolicited’. They are solicited by the people and that’s what matters
A DGP is a servant of the public. The public & its representatives have the right to demand accountability

At times police officials are known to be trigger-happy. But The Goa Director General of police seems to be Twitter-happy, taking objection to any bit of constructive feedback and criticism that a servant of the public is duty-bound to take, on Twitter (Now X).

When faced with criticism and questions he has taken pot-shots at representatives of other pillars of democracy- the press and now even MLAs. In a response to Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai’s comments on the professional role of the Hyderabad police and other agencies on the drug trade in Goa, the DGP tweeted “Have been getting unsolicited advice as to how to do policing? I wonder if you also advise your doctors how to write prescriptions or engineers about engineering”.

Sardesai responded by saying, “This is not unsolicited advice, I am an MLA” He termed the DGP as a troll army on ‘X’ (Twitter).

There are a couple of things that need to be highlighted and underlined here because here we have the head of the Goa Police telling an MLA to effectively mind his business because policing is the DGP's business, just like writing prescriptions is a doctor's business. This logic needs to be analysed closely in the public interest.

 Can the public or its representatives be treated with disrespect by those in service?

DGP Jaspal Singh, a very senior IPS officer, who has made sarcastic remarks against reporters and even his own colleagues in the Hyderabad police, and now against an MLA, would undoubtedly know - given his high position and fine education - that he is a servant of the public. Therefore, by association, the public is his master. There can be no doubt or debate on this. Therefore, can the public or representatives of the public be treated with disrespect by those in service, paid by tax payers to serve them?

Let us look at one aspect of the DGP’s tweet again: “I wonder if you also advise your doctors as to how to write prescriptions or engineers about engineering.”

 A dissatisfied patient has the right to change his doctor, and when a bridge collapses an engineer faces the public’s wrath

Both doctors and engineers are highly rated professionals, but they are in effect respected service providers and they both serve the public through their expertise. In the case of a doctor, the patient or his family will not teach him to write a prescription but they would expect to be cured through his medicines and treatment. And if the expected results aren’t received they often take second opinions or go to another doctor. And the same principle applies to patients moving from one hospital to the other depending on the quality of health care. Similarly, no one teaches an engineer how to make roads or bridges. But if a bridge collapses or is faulty, the engineer does face criticism and flak from the public. Neither the doctor nor the engineer can question those they serve, or whether they have the right to ask questions

People need not know the IPC by heart but can question if policing doesn’t make society safe

As far as the head of the police is concerned, the judgement on his professionalism can only be made by society. Now the public need not know the CrPC or the IPC like the back of their hands (this is certainly the job of officers like Mr Singh).The public only needs to be secure that their surroundings are free of criminals, drug dealers, sex traffickers and so on. Goa ranks as one of the states with the highest degree of sex trafficking per density of population, Goa’s place as a transit, source point and bazaar for drugs is well established and the number of rapes and sexual crimes is on a galloping rise. The people of the state, the responsible media and MLAs are the most natural stakeholders of any narrative on policing and the safety of citizens. 

Does the DGP expect people, the media and MLAs to maintain silence on why Goa has become a drug haven or how international sex traffickers from Nigeria are running a sex racket with the trafficked girls having no passports, in the belief that the police are doing its job? Can this be done when it is clearly evident that it is not?

When all-night rave and trance parties are held openly flouting and ridiculing High Court orders, and the police remain spectators or pretend not to see,  should the public reaction and questions asked, be treated as “unsolicited advice”.  

For example is the DGP aware how a four-day open air event called “Goa Calling, 4 days of Psychedelic Madness from Sep 28- Oct 1 at a Venue called WTF- What the Forest on Mandrem Goa” has been given permission and is it per the High Court orders on noise pollution? And if not, how is it openly distributing posters of the event which clearly appears to be non-stop, as the name states “Psychedelic Madness”. 

DGP Singh has had a brush with his colleagues in the police force from other states too. Hyderabad City Police Commissioner CV Anand has done a phenomenal job of picking up several drug kingpins of Goa, who were not touched here. 

Anand said Hyderabad police sought the help of Goa police in narcotic-related cases, but they did not cooperate. The DGP responded by mentioning that the High Court of Bombay at Goa took strong exception to police forces from other States coming to Goa without following the due legal procedure and picking up suspects. 

He maintained that the Hyderabad police had been unable to prove that they had asked Goa police for help. The Hyderabad cops have maintained a dignified silence because everyone in professional policing knows that often the help of interstate police is sought and provided covertly to maintain operational secrecy.

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai responded to the DGPs words – ‘Have been getting unsolicited advice and hit out at the DGP saying “Goa police is taking offence at every criticism of the Goa police. If I point out that the NCB and other agencies are cracking drug cases, it pains the DGP”

 Interestingly one person on Twitter commented to the DGP “We all saw how Goa police helped the culprits in the Banastarim case. You should resign on moral grounds”. 

To which DGP Singh retorted, "Can you prove it, Man?" Did we help them by arresting the real accused and rejecting the proxy one…?” 

The DGP did not mention that the answer to his question had already been given by the Court. Additional Sessions Judge, Panaji sitting at Ponda said in para 54 of his order on the bail of Amit Palerkar, accused of presenting a dummy driver and destroying evidence to shield the main accused Paresh Savardekar.

Shri Cholu M Gauns, Additional Sessions Judge, Panaji sitting at Ponda, while disposing of the bail application of Adv Amit Palekar stated in para 54, “The material on record makes it crystal clear that all the offences namely destruction of evidence, giving false information, harbouring real offender etc, were committed in the presence of the in-charge of the Mardol PS and the police did nothing. The culprits were honourably and mysteriously allowed to retreat from Police Station. This is alarming... In the context of the preceding finding in para 54, it stands proved that the applicant (Palekar) was available for prosecution for arrest way back on the day of the commission of offence itself”.

It was due to this lapse of the Mardol Police that Adv Palekar got bail as mentioned in the order itself.

These are a judge's words- “THE POLICE DID NOTHING”. Even after this how has no action been taken against the then PI of Mardol Mohan Gaude?

Therefore, DGP Singh as the first public servant of the uniformed force in Goa, should look within and see the deficiencies, loopholes, and the inefficient, non-professional functioning of his force and take feedback in these directions constructively. 

After all, the feedback is being provided by those acting on behalf of the master of public servants, the public, whose taxes pay for the wages of the police.






Idhar Udhar