[Kafila] Delhi Police Special Cell – Encounters, Frame-ups, Impunity: Manisha Sethi

An RTI enquiry has revealed that Delhi Police Special Cell’s conviction rate is a paltry 30 per cent. Nearly 70 per cent of the accused it charge-sheeted over the past five years were acquitted for want of credible evidence. Do these figures tell us something? A news story in a leading English daily bemoans this trifling record and quotes a senior police officerattributing this to the fact that “police sometimes get tangled in cross evidences and it becomes tough when you rely more on circumstantial evidences”. [i] This evokes the image of a bumbling policeman, reminiscent almost of Jacques Clouseau, tripping over reams and strings of evidences, in an impossible attempt to build a watertight case against the villains. But Special Cell couldn’t be farther from this sort of cute sloppiness.

These bare statistics of 30-70 must be read in conjunction with court judgments and the track record of the Special Cell itself to arrive at the big picture. It is not shoddy investigative skills—a pardonable offence; or poor infrastructure—a justifiable excuse again—but the simple non-existence of a case that is allowing accused to secure acquittals. Created in 1986 to tackle terrorism and high profile crime, Special Cell has become a law unto itself, a marauding force, ‘encountering’ and detaining ‘suspects’ almost at will. This is not a charge of bleeding heart liberals and human rights wallahs alone, but a fact corroborated by judgment after judgment of the city courts. […]

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