Online cash transfers, hiding the money in bouquets and dropping off officers at desolate places after transactions are some of the innovative ways police officers take bribes, the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) found out. With ACB increasing the number of traps, police officials are devising new ways to avoid getting caught. According to officials, in kind bribes are getting fancier and darker by the day. While alcohol, gadgets, property and gold are sought after, in a one-of-a-kind case, an officer demanded the complainant to either give him Rs 5 lakhs or allow him to spend a night with his wife.
Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional commissioner of police, ACB, said, "Corrupt officers want to be as discreet as possible. They want to go beyond handing over the money directly in their home or office as it involves a lot of risk." Common practice is is to make victims keep cash in a cupboard or bag or get middlemen to collect the money. However, of late, cash is hid in flowers bouquets, towels and even inside files and gift boxes, etc. "Officers also demand that money should be given to photocopy shopkeepers and tea stall vendors who are hand-in-glove with them. Some officers have even asked for cheque transactions and online transfers for convenience. Tech-savvy cops want money to be transferred online through NEFT, RTGS, etc," said Patil.
Many a times, the officers change the location, where the bribe exchanged, every half hour to confuse the victim. This is done till the last minute to avoid any risk. "Even after the location is confirmed, the victim, who has already arrived at the agreed location gets a call to come to another place which is a few miles away. This way, the spot is changed three to four times to ensure safety. In some cases, the officer takes the victim for a drive in his car or bike and once the money is handed over, he is dropped off an isolated location. Once a victim was dropped off in a dense forest after he handed over the bribe and he was stuck there for hours," added another officer. The officer mentioned that crowded places such as railway stations, markets and malls are officers' favourites as they can escape in the crowd.
However, ACB officials feel that no amount of secrecy can help the corrupt officers. "We have officers and informers stationed everywhere and we do not take any complaints lightly. We want more people to come forward and register complaints," added Patil. The ACB, in a record-breaking feat has registered 601 traps in the first six months of 2014 as compared to 293 in the corresponding period of last year, which is a 105 per cent increase.