Crime vs punishment: Police record cuts sorry figure

Of 44,874 serious cases last year, cops secured convictions in only 335

Of the 44,874 serious cases (murder, rape, kidnap) that went to trial in 2011, Mumbai Police could secure convictions in only 335 (10 per cent). The damning record came to the fore through RTI queries filed by NGO Praja Foundation.

According to data compiled by the NGO, 1,61,528 cases were heard last year. Of these, judgment is pending in 1,49,232. Shockingly, in 10,214 cases, the accused walked free, most of them "for want of evidence and watertight investigation".

The findings reveal that the city police registered 33,956 FIRs in 2011, with 71,425 cases probed (along with those pending from previous years). Of the total, 12,762 were serious offences, of which accused were charge-sheeted in only 5,772 (45 per cent). A shocking 656 cases were found to "be true but not detected", meaning that a crime was committed but could not be detected due to lack of leads.

The NGO, dealing with civic governance issues, has been collating crime data since 2008. It released the figures on Tuesday based on RTI findings till December 2011, updated Annual Administrative Reports till March 2012, FIRs, and answers sought by MLAs in the last three sessions as well as the Budget 2012 session. The NGO termed it a "clarion call" for the state based on a survey, which revealed that 39.4 per cent Mumbaikars did not feel not safe.

The NGO has also called for change in "policing" and a robust investigation wing in each police station. It now plans to submit the comprehensive study to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, state Home Minister R R Patil, and Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh. "This time, we want to make presentations to MLAs given that they have fared poorly in our report. They need to address these issues immediately," said Milin Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation.

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