The Maharashtra government is yet to recover dues amounting to Rs 5.11 crore from 38 people to whom police protection had been provided in Mumbai, according to an RTI query.
Police authorities, however, said they are in the process of recovering the dues. The state government had faced criticism from the Bombay High Court over non-recovery of pending dues.
A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that from 2007 to 2017, the Mumbai police provided protection to 2,293 people and received Rs 44 crore in lieu of that.
Till March 2018, the Mumbai police had provided protection to 219 people and received Rs 1.54 crore from them as charges, as per the information furnished to RTI applicant Nagmani Pandey.
However, according to the reply, furnished by a senior police inspector of the Protection Branch, a total of Rs 5.11 crore was still due from 38 people who got protection.
Citing the section Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, the officer declined to provide the names of defaulters, saying doing so will put them in serious trouble.
The section prevents the disclosure of any personal information which do not have any link to any public activity or interest.
Hearing a PIL filed by advocate Sunny Punamiya, the HC last year had ordered the government to recover the police security dues from individuals and from political parties if their functionaries are not paying the pending amounts.
The petitioner had said most of the defaulters were either builders or businessmen.
Asked about the pending dues, Punamiya said “If this is the case, I need to file another PIL.”
However, the Mumbai police said they were in the process to recover the dues.
Vinayak Deshmukh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Protection), said, “We keep sending notices to the parties. Recovery is a sort of ongoing process and this process is still going on.”
According to norms, security seekers apply to the Protection Branch citing reason for asking for security. His/ her application is then scrutinised and if merit is found in the request, the plea is forwarded to the Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) for approval.
The charges for providing police security vary from person to person and are based on the income of protection seekers and the level of threat faced by them. Their threat perception is reviewed periodically.