When the news published about thirty-five Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, in-service and retired officers tentatively owe the Maharashtra government at least Rs 3.82 crore in fines for staying on in government accommodation after they had been transferred from those posts.
We had word with many of the officers and they said they are ready to pay the dues if they really owe anything to the government. So, none of these officers received any notice from the government.
Meanwhile, the RTI filled has a lot of misinformation too. The former Director-General of Police-rank officer told Afternoon Voice, under the condition of anonymity that “The RTI itself is misleading, the calculation of stay needs more specification and none of these officers overstayed without government sanctions, even then if the government asks us to pay, we will pay the dues but so far we have not received any such notice.”
There are four serving Commissioners of Police on the list, and two Additional Directors-General and a former Director-General of Police-rank officer. Under the rules, IPS officers who are transferred out of a post must vacate their official accommodation for their successor in the post within a specified time, failing which they are liable to pay a fine. The list of these officers includes two former Commissioners of Mumbai Police, one of whom is also a two-time BJP MP.
The fines are payable by many officers, as per the information obtained by Indian Express under the RTI Act, most of these officers stayed in homes that were allotted to them when they were posted in Mumbai, the Maharashtra Home Department’s replies to the RTI application show.
- The top seven defaulters in the list owe the government more than Rs 20 lakh each; the RTI replies show. The biggest sum is owed by Sanjay Kumar Baviskar, DIG, and State Reserve Police Force in Pune. He has been fined Rs 75.77 lakh for continuing to occupy a 1,046-sq-foot apartment in Mumbai until October 2020, even though he had been transferred in mid-2011.
- Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Dr Mahesh Patil, posted with Crime Branch, Mira Bhayandar Vasai Virar Commissionerate, owes the government Rs 33.77 lakh for staying on in a 1,000-sq-foot apartment in Mumbai until June 2019, even though he had been transferred from the post of DCP (Zone V), Mumbai, as Superintendent of Police, Thane (Rural), in May 2016.
- Retired IPS officers Surinder Kumar and Dhananjay Kamlakar owe Rs 25.78 lakh and Rs 22.82 lakh respectively to the government.
- SP (Anti-Corruption Bureau) Punjabrao Ugale owes Rs 20.77 lakh, and retired IPS officer Bipin Bihari, Rs 20.29 lakh, information obtained under the RTI Act shows.
- Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Dhananjay Jadhav owed the government Rs 20.16 lakh up to March 31. Jadhav, who was suffering from a heart ailment, passed away on March 30.
- Another former Mumbai Police Commissioner, Dr Satya Pal Singh, has been fined Rs 12.94 lakh. Singh won the Lok Sabha election from Baghpat on a BJP ticket in 2014 and 2019.
- Special Inspector General of Police, Nanded range, Nisar Tamboli, Government Railway Force (GRP) Commissioner Quaiser Khalid, Solapur Police Commissioner Ankush Shinde, and Palghar Superintendent of Police Dattatrey Shinde are yet to pay accumulated fines of Rs 16.91 lakh, Rs 15.05 lakh, Rs 11.56 lakh, and Rs 8.03 lakh, according to replies to the RTI application.
- Among the other officers who owe the government, according to the reply to the RTI application, are Additional Director General (Rail) Dr Pradnya Saravade (Rs 8.26 lakh), Special Inspector General of Police (Admin) Brijesh Singh (Rs 6.48 lakh), and Additional Director General (Anti-Corruption Bureau) Vinaykumar Choubey (Rs 5.05 lakh).
- Pimpri Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash and Thane Police Commissioner Jaijeet Singh are yet to pay accumulated fines of Rs 2.43 lakh and Rs 1.51 lakh respectively. Retired IPS officers Sunil Paraskar and Pratap Dighavkar owe the government Rs 16.71 lakh and Rs 3.93 lakh respectively.
The licence fee varies from Rs 120 to Rs 1,400 per month, depending on the size of the accommodation. The penal rent is much higher — for 1,000-sq-foot government accommodation, for example, the penal rent is Rs 1, 50,000 per month, charged at the rate of Rs 150 per sq. foot.