UP Cop Who Told Criminal To “Manage BJP Leader If You Want To Save Yourself From Encounter” Dismissed From Service
In Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district, a senior police officer has been dismissed from service on Tuesday after an audio recording of an alleged phone conversation regarding “impending encounter” between him and a criminal went viral. This is the second time he has faced such action. In 2007, he was dismissed following an inquiry but rejoined the police force in 2008 on a court directive.
The audio clip
Suneet Kumar Singh, a Station House Officer (SHO) of Mauranipur police, can be allegedly heard saying that he tops the state police’s encounter list. The criminal, Lekhraj Yadav, is an accused in over a dozen murders, extortion and kidnapping cases. In the eight minute video, the officer allegedly told Yadav to manage local BJP leaders if he wants to protect himself from an encounter. At present, Yadav is on bail.
“It is wrong to say that the police and the BJP are fixing encounters”, UP Director General of Police OP Singh told NDTV. “We have ordered an inquiry and the police officer has already been suspended. However, I cannot comment on opposition’s allegations,” he added.
Surprisingly, the video was leaked by the criminal himself as Yadav claims that he recorded the conversation on Friday. He also claimed to have escaped an encounter on the same day. The next day, Yadav handed over the clip to the media.
Subsequently, the audio went viral on TV as well as on various social media sites, following which the state government suspended the police officer. The police have given the clip for forensic examination.
According to Yadav, he had allegedly called the SHO amid rumours of a planned encounter. The police officer can also be heard telling Yadav that he would not be able to help him and advised him to crack a deal with Babina lawmaker Rajiv Singh Paricha and Sanjay Dubey, who is BJP’s district president.
Paricha is confused why the cop took his name and said it was a conversation between “two criminals”.
“I have never spoken to this police officer. He has a chequered past. Why would he drag me into this? However, this conversation shows that criminals are scared of the government’s resolve to eliminate crime in the state,” Parichay was quoted by NDTV.
The cop allegedly warned Yadav that because his name is involved in at least 60 criminal cases he is the most suitable candidate for an encounter. He even told Yadav that his movements were being traced by the police, so a smart man like him must understand the functioning of the “system” and act before its get too late.
According to the The Indian Express, during the conversation, the officer is also heard saying, “We were criminals from the beginning… moreover, will remain so… committed crimes throughout life… don’t how many I have killed and dumped them… don’t know how many murders I have committed with my hand… don’t know how many times I have gone to jail… I have all the system… all problems have been solved thanks to the grace of God.”
Encounters Held During BJP’s Rule
Yadav asked the Police Officer to offer him help as he has a family to look after. Singh replied he is helping by informing about the encounters held under the leadership of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.
“Do you know how many encounters have held in the last 14 years? However, now there is a new structure starting from top to bottom including DSP, top officers, and Special Forces.” Singh said as reported by ABP News.
Rajya Sabha Member Chandrapal Singh Yadav who is also a member of Samajwadi Party, attacked the Yogi government and stated that this was happening across the state.
According to The Indian Express, since March 20, 2017, when Yogi Adityanath became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, there has been a tremendous surge in encounters in the state. Figures show that out of 1,755 encounters in the state last year, 50 people were killed, 430 were injured and 4,270 have been arrested. The government is facing criticism across the country. This year in January, an eight-year-old was shot dead by Uttar Pradesh police when they were in the middle of an “encounter” to kill alleged criminals in Mathura’s Mohanpura village.
On February 3, National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the state government to explain the reason behind the encounters spree.
UP government response
The officer from the audio has a dubious track record as a policeman. “He was expelled from the force in 2007 for an offence. A year later, he rejoined on a court directive. An FIR on charges of unnatural offences was filed against him in Jalaun in 2011. He was acquitted by the court in 2016,” Jhansi superintendent of police Vinod Kumar told The Indian Express. He added that Singh has 12 entries of “misconduct” in his service record between 2007 and 2016.
In February, CM Yogi said, “Everyone should be guaranteed security, but those who want to disturb the peace of the society and believe in the gun, should be answered in the language of the gun itself. I would tell the administration, which there is no need to worry on this,” according to The Wire.
The Logical Indian take
In the last one year, since Yogi Adityanath took over as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state has witnessed 1,755 encounters, where at least 50 persons were killed. Yogi Adityanath’s government says that UP is going to be crime-free thanks to the encounters. Allegedly most of the encounters have taken place because the criminals opened fire first. The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notification, asking the police to stop encounters.
The NHRC, in a press release, stated: “Elimination of a criminal in such an unlawful manner can never send a good message to a civilised society. As has been emphasised time and again, the police do not have a right to take away the life of a human being. It is not the lawful way to deal with criminals.”
Even after this notification, encounters have not stopped; it seems that colluding with certain ministers and leaders of the ruling party can help criminals escape encounters.
The Uttar Pradesh government needs to be answerable to the NHRC and its citizens for supporting arbitrary encounters.