Officials allege staff shortage of upto 30 %; nearly Rs. 8 lakh worth of dues unpaid
The elite division of the Chennai City Police — Central Crime Branch (CCB) — which deals with white-collar crimes, is in complete disarray.
An overload of cases that stems from a shortage of officers with expertise, and dues of investigation allowance are some of the issues plaguing the division. The latter has even led to charges of corruption against some teams.
The CCB was formed under the city police over two decades ago, as part of an initiative by former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, to probe entrustment frauds, job rackets, dowry cases and gangster operations and has evolved into a division that also investigates cyber crime and cases of bank fraud, video piracy, land grabbing, homicide special investigation, passport forgery and adulteration of essential commodities.
Headquartered at the police commissionerate in Egmore, the CCB has to its credit the cracking of sensational cases such as busting an international racket of credit card fraudsters and unearthing an illegal telephone exchange. Now, in addition to being short-staffed, it is also facing a severe crunch in infrastructure with facilities such as computers, vehicles and proper toilets not available.
“Every officer in the CCB teams has a minimum of 40 cases to investigate and more complaints just keep piling up by the day. We are functioning at 30 per cent below sanctioned strength. Many probes are done in a haphazard manner,” lamented a CCB officer.
The lack of proper disbursement of investigation allowance has also left many disenchanted. CCB personnel, including those in the ranks of assistant commissioner, inspector, sub-inspector and constable, receive a monthly investigation allowance between Rs. 200 and Rs. 1,500. However, except for February and April, the allowance has not been disbursed since September 2012. The money for the month of April was sanctioned just a few days ago.
“We use the money to buy food for the detainees and other requirements during the course of a probe. The present situation has led us to spend from our pockets. There are even cases of money being sought from the complainant or suspect,” a CCB inspector added. An amount of nearly Rs. 8 lakh is yet to be given to CCB personnel.
The CCB teams witnessed a complete reshuffle recently. However, key posts including joint commissioner, deputy commissioner and additional deputy Commissioner still remain vacant.
There are also allegations that some members of the teams are lacking in expertise in their areas of probe leading to delays in investigation. Officers are also dejected at their being deployed on frequent bandobast duty and night rounds, thus leaving them with little time for investigation.