Announcement follows series of murders and Opposition flak

On a day marred by the 17th murder of the fortnight in the city, Home Minister R. Ashok announced that the Central Crime Branch (CCB) will be revamped.

Addressing presspersons at the Chief Minister’s Home Office, Krishna, here Tuesday, Mr. Ashok said: “We are bringing in some changes in the CCB to control crime.”

His announcement followed strongly worded statements earlier in the day from Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara, who expressed concern over the “deteriorating law and order situation” in the State, particularly in Bangalore.

Mr. Ashok sought to downplay these concerns and chose instead to commend the city police saying that policing in the city is “good”. He said that the changes in the CCB are part of a routine attempt to strengthen the intelligence support for the police. The changes have been discussed with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and patrolling in the city has been intensified. “The police are also keeping a close watch on the movements of habitual offenders and known lawbreakers,” he said.

The former State police chief Shankar M. Bidari too expressed his concern over the spate of murders in the city. Mr. Bidari said: “It is for the Home Minister as well as the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police to offer an explanation.”

Indicating laxity on the part of the present police establishment, he said: “Things are bound to go out of control if they [police] fall prey to adjustments, compromises and conspiracies.”

Alarmist attitude

On the other hand, Joint Commissioner of Police for Crime Pranab Mohanty warned against an alarmist attitude. “Very few of these cases [17 murders] are the type that could have been prevented by better policing. Most were committed due to personal rivalries [which] the police can do very little to prevent.” Responding to the recent daylight murder of ganglord Gajendra, he said: “We tried to keep him in jail for his own safety. But he secured bail and returned to the same area where he faced several threats to his life.”

As for the sensational murder of BML Krishnappa, he said: “It was committed outside the city limits because the killers were afraid of the city police.”

He also pointed out that there is a longstanding demand to include more areas into the city police commissionerate limits. “If the law and order situation is so bad, why do political leaders want more areas to be added under the city police?”