District Collectors hesitant to invoke KAAPA against goons, say police

95% goons nabbed by Kerala Police let off on police station bail
പ്രതീകാത്മക ചിത്രം

Thiruvananthapuram: In a curious development, the Kerala Police have approached the state’s Home Ministry against the reportedly ‘lenient’ attitude of District Collectors towards habitual offenders. According to the police, they are unable to keep goons in preventive custody as many Collectors are hesitant to invoke KAAPA (Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act) against criminals.

With several habitual offenders roaming free, the state had witnessed some shocking crimes recently. For instance, a receptionist at a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram was hacked to death at his workplace in broad daylight by a goon. Though the police had earlier recommended preventive custody of the assailant under KAAPA, the Collector - who has powers to issue the order - had rejected the proposal.

Similarly, a youth was murdered and his body dumped in front of a police station in the heart of Kottayam town. The accused in this case was also a habitual offender whom action was sought by the police under KAAPA. However, this goon had obtained relief from the KAAPA advisory committee.

With Collectors regularly rejecting the list of goons submitted by the police, criminals have gained confidence, according to the complaint submitted to the Home Department. Meanwhile, the Intelligence Department also gave a report which said these developments would have serious consequences.

The police are now demanding equal powers for Deputy Inspector of Generals (DIG) of police as District Collectors to invoke KAAPA. Taking note of the situation, the Chief Minister has convened a high-level emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.

The police have pointed out that even four months after the launch of ‘Operation Kaaval’ – a crackdown on goons – there has been no letup in organised crime in the state.

KAAPA, which was enacted in 2007, proposes preventive custody for persons who have been made an accused in at least three criminal cases involving serious violence over a period of seven years. This is aimed at preventing further crimes by them. Under the Act, district police chiefs can recommend the custody of goons to the respective District Collectors.

Subsequently, the Collector can either order six-month custody or seek an opinion from legal advisors on the district police chief’s recommendation. In most cases, the legal advisors raise objections to the proposals of the police, based on which the Collector rejects the police chief’s request. Many goons also enjoy political patronage, which helps them avoid preventive custody, allege the police.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.