Feeling that the city police are depending too much upon technical intelligence to solve criminal cases, Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria has asked his men to strengthen their human intelligence network.
Maria, who is reputed of having a vast network of khabris or informers himself, will soon take a two-day training programme in source development. As a veteran officer, Maria has always depended on his khabris to provide vital information about the happenings in the underworld.
The fact that underlies the need for Maria to hold the training camp is that the policemen are falling short of khabris. "We are soon going to have a training programme on how to develop sources and how to run them," Maria told dna.
Off late, there have been cases wherein the police had taken months to solve serious offences such as the acid attack and murder of Delhi's Preeti Rathi, 23, at Bandra train terminus on May 2, 2013 and the killing of Andhra Pradesh techie Esther Anhuya, 23, on January 5 this year. In Anhuya's case, the police depended heavily on technical intelligence — they scanned over 1,000 mobile phone calls and also used cell phone tower logs to trace the location of the suspects. Incidentally, the prime accused in this case is a person with a previous criminal record.
According to Maria, selected officers from the elite crime branch, detection staff of police stations and men from the anti-terror cells of police stations would be made to attend this programme. "There has been over dependence on technical intelligence and it's time go back to human intelligence; and for that, there is a need to develop more khabris," he said.
Police sources said experienced officers from the Intelligence Bureau, retired crime branch officers as well as serving officers will be conducting the programme and would guide city police officers on how to cultivate khabris.
"After the training programme, the success can be identified through the detection of cases," Maria said.
A police officer working with the crime branch said this programme will certainly help officers in cultivating as well as strengthening the khabri network. "Informers have been the backbone of Mumbai police. Due to several reasons such as killing of khabris by gangsters, less availability of funds to regularly pay them and snatching of khabris by rival officers, this network has suffered a serious jolt. We expect the training to help us develop a large network of informers who will be useful in our work," the officer said requesting anonymity.
An informer speaks:
"The biggest problem informers used to have in the recent times is that their identities were not kept under the wraps. Once our identity was exposed, there was a constant threat to us and our families. Now that Rakesh Maria, who is known to have a good network of informers himself, has become the police chief, we are hopeful that he would take care of our needs," said Danish Khan (not his real name), a police informer. "We informers take tremendous risks by passing on information to the police. We do this for money, but at the same time, we get the satisfaction of helping the police in tackling crime," he added. Khan has been a khabri for the past eight years.