VIPs not only avail of security, but they also don’t pay for it. A Right to Information (RTI) query by activist Chetan Kothari has revealed that 30 prominent people in the city who have been provided with police protection have not paid dues to the tune of Rs1.8 crore collectively since 1999. The culprits include elected representatives, builders, activists and journalists.
According to the data provided by the Mumbai police under RTI, noted advocate Majid Memon owes the maximum money to them. He has to clear dues of Rs58 lakh for enjoying police protection between April 1, 2005, and August 31, 2013. He is followed by Sunil Jain who owes Rs32,67,812, Rajendra Vani (Rs15,17,136), Vijay Kamble (Rs9,86,711), Madhu Sanghvi (Rs9,00,552), corporator Sharad Pawar (Rs8,44,300) and Abhijit Rane (Rs7,78,082).
Menon, who had earlier denied that he owes money to the force, saying it was the police which provided him with protection, declined to comment. “I have other work,” he told dna before disconnecting the call. He did not revert to messages about the details provided by the police.
Former Shiv Sena MP Mohan Rawle’s name also features in the list of defaulters. He owes Rs1,66,856 since 2010. “I know I have to give money and I will give it soon. There was some problem, but I will clear it,” he said.
Surprisingly, eight of the 30 people listed continue to be provided with security cover.
“Those taking protection should pay the police. At the end of the day, they are enjoying police protection at the cost of public money,” Kothari said. “Their protection should either be withdrawn or cancelled altogether. Henceforth, such people should not even be provided with security.”
Journalist Abhijit Rane, however, says he paid for his security via cheques last week. “I have already paid. I have been receiving threats regularly. Political parties have attacked me. That the police are charging me (despite that) is a big problem,” he said.
The Mumbai police provides protection to people when there is a threat perception. “This threat perception can either be gauged by the police when they get to know of things from their sources or by means of phone tapping or an open threat. It can also be gauged after people complain to the police,” said a retired police officer. “When citizens seek protection on their own and it is found to be real, they are charged. This protection is reviewed every three months.”
Madhukar Pandey, additional commissioner of police (protection and security), was not available for comment.
An RTI query by Chetan Kothari (pictured) found that advocate Majid Memon owes Rs58 lakh to the police. Initially, Memon denied that he owes money, but later he refused to comment
Former Shiv Sena MP Mohan Rawle who owes Rs1.66 lakh says he will pay soon.