Police officer Roopa D, who famously exposed special favours accorded to ousted AIADMK leader VK Sasikala in prison in Bengaluru, said that bureaucrats should boldly uphold the law even if it means inviting trouble.
She was speaking at a TedX talk in Dayanand Sagar College of Engineering on November 3. The video of the TedX talk was published on YouTube recently.
Roopa is Karnataka’s first Kannadiga woman police officer. She has been transferred 17 times in her career.
Roopa was posted as DIG Prisons in Bengaluru when she was credited for her whistle-blowing act of pointing out that Sasikala was receiving special treatment in prison.
“I witnessed special treatment given to a particular convict, who was the close aide of the recently departed ex-CM of Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court had convicted her under the Corruption Act for possessing disproportionate assets beyond her known sources of income. Jail officials had given special facilities to her as a quid pro quo. I reported it to authorities. After this report, I was slapped a defamation suit notice. If you stir the hornet’s nest, be prepared for all kinds of oddities,” says Roopa.
She also said that as a woman police officer, she faced times in her career when her instructions were taken lightly by her subordinates. She recounted an earlier experience from Gadag in 2008.
“In Nargund, a powerful politician who had been a minister earlier, addressed a gathering of his followers and gave an inciting speech that made his followers set ablaze three government buses. I instructed DYSP to arrest the politician as he was prima facie guilty of abetment of offence. There was videographed evidence of his speech. Not only did my subordinate resist and refuse but he also kept on arguing and lying that politician had left town,” says Roopa.
She was not one to budge and sat at the police station through the day and in the night when police officers brought the guilty politician to the station. Upon investigation, it was found that the ‘subordinate’ was in constant touch with the guilty politician and was suspended.
Roopa also slammed the VVIP culture of politicians that she observed in her career. When she was DCP of Bengaluru Armed Reserve she found that several elected representatives including MLAs, MPs and MLCs had kept gunmen in excess of the authorised number.
“I made a list and found 82 politicians had kept 216 gunmen in excess of the number entitled. I began withdrawing them and it was first resisted by my boss who reprimanded me in front of my subordinates but I kept withdrawing them until the last excess gunman returned to the police unit,” she says to applause from the audience.
She appealed to bureaucrats to take on political leaders boldly to uphold the law even if they are faced with notices. “These kind of notices cause personal discomfiture for bureaucrats. They take away personal time, energy and money if you have to fight it out in the court of law. These notices are an occupational hazards which have to be faced boldly by the bureaucrats,” adds the police officer.