Mohanty cracks the whip

Hyderabad, April 05: Placed on the hot seat barely few days before polling by the Election Commission, DGP A K Mohanty has begun cracking the whip.

He has recommended the transfer of East Godavari SP Y Nagi Reddy to the Election Commission for not fulfilling the poll-related responsibilities. Sources said the axe is likely to fall on at least two other SPs and some DSPs.

Given the little time he has at his disposal, Mohanty has conveyed to his personnel that three basic things should be monitored and implemented to ensure a fair and fear-free elections: checking illegal flow of money, unlicensed sale of liquor and executing non-bailable warrants against anti-social elements to ensure that they do not roam around, striking fear among voters.

To this end, Mohanty reportedly has stressed on visible policing, which is simply stopping vehicles and individuals randomly and checking them thoroughly.

Nagi Reddy has been serving in East Godavari since April 2008. Sources said some senior field officers are under watch for non-performance and errant behaviour on a case by case basis. “The new DGP is conveying one simple message to the district police bosses.

Check the flow of cash and liquor, and round up the lumpen elements. Do not deviate from the instructions. If you do not do so, you are out,” said the SP of a Telangana district.

But Mohanty appears to have his hands full as money and liquor seem to flow freely. Till Saturday, at least Rs 13 crore in cash ostensibly meant for distribution among the electorate has been seized from several persons including aides, gunmen and workers of candidates and political leaders.

“The amount seized is a pittance as compared to what the candidates are spending, which is anywhere between Rs 4-6 crore per assembly constituency,” said one candidate.

With regard to liquor, the biggest task for the DGP is to ensure the closure of belt shops. Excise officials said despite the Election Commission directive that belt shops should be closed, many continue to exist and in fact, new ones appeared to have sprung up. This is evidenced by the fact that liquor sales in districts did not decrease in March, something that should have happened if the belt shops, which account for 40 per cent of the revenue, had been shut down.

With regard to rounding up criminals, Mohanty appears to have begun in right earnest as many of the NBWs are being executed.

In all, there are said to be about 800 NBWs pending execution. “But Mohanty’s biggest challenge is checking the flow of money and liquor. And as of now, there is a free flow of these two,” said one leader.