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I have been fortunate to share a good rapport with both my seniors and juniors: Ranjan Sharma

Ranjan Sharma-Suyash Sethiya-Nation Next
IPS officer Ranjan Sharma (Photo by: Suyash Sethiya)

Despite becoming a chartered accountant early in his career, former Deputy Commissioner of Police Ranjan Sharma (Crime Branch, Nagpur) chose to struggle to become an IPS officer because of the reverence and pride associated with the profession. The IPS officer who hails from a remote village in Jamui district of Bihar, has overcome many odds since his childhood to become such a formidable and inspirational success story. During his stint in Nagpur as the DCP, Sharma also held an additional charge of Additional Commissioner of Police, Nagpur Police. He has now been transferred as the SP of Ahmednagar. Before getting relocated, Ranjan Sharma, in a candid chat with Nation Next spoke exclusively about his life journey, Nagpur Police and crime graph of the city.

 Excerpts:

You tasted success early in your career when you became a chartered accountant. Then, why did you further struggle to join civil services

Bihar has a Samantwadi? culture, which means that even if you are affluent, you won’t enjoy the kind of prestige and recognition in the society a civil servant (especially an IAS or an IPS) enjoys. Civil servants have always inspired us. So, any doctor, MBA, lawyer, etc., in Bihar definitely tries for civil services examinations. And if they aren’t selected, they have their other profession as a backup. Besides being a CA, I was already an inspector in the income tax department. So simultaneously, I tried for civil services examinations because by that time, we were financially stable due to my job at the income tax department.

In Nagpur, you were entrusted with many responsibilities like additional CP, DCP Crime and DCP HQ. How do you deal with such multitasking?

We were trained for such multiple responsibilities at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, where we would do our physical training, attend our classes, participate in cultural programmes and even got involved in outdoor activities like rock climbing, etc. There was a time when I even held six charges simultaneously. It usually happens with me. Earlier, when I was in Malegaon, I held four charges.

As you are often given so many responsibilities, your seniors seem to be having a lot of trust and faith in you. How has your rapport been with the Commissioners of Police you’ve worked with?

I’ve had a very good rapport with the CPs I’ve been reporting to. I usually tell my juniors that if they are working with anyone ? whether a superior or a subordinate – it’s very important to understand their psychology for smooth working. We can’t change or question our superiors orders; we can give them our opinions, but ultimately we have to follow the orders. I have been fortunate to share a good rapport with both my seniors and juniors.

Sometime back, former Nagpur DCP Abhinash Kumar was embroiled in a controversy after his tussle with a female press photographer Monica Chaturvedi. A media delegation even met the then CP – SP Yadav – demanding his transfer. As the in-charge of media cell, you heavily interacted with Nagpur media. Whats your take on it?

I feel people should be straightforward and honest. At times, we can’t reveal all the details but it certainly doesn’t mean that we aren’t speaking the truth. Trust is built gradually. In Abhinash Kumar and Monica Chaturvedis unfortunate episode, there are different perceptions. Abhinash has a good reputation of being a tough and a straightforward officer. Talking about the incident, we (police department) were of the view that when all the journalists were clicking pictures from a distance, Monica too should have abided by the same rule. There wasn’t any need for her to click pictures from the restricted area. The police was trying to pacify the crowd at the event since morning because if some untoward incident had taken place (with Monica), the police would have been blamed for it. A similar clarification had been passed on to journalists organisations about the same. This incident also took place because Monica wasn’t wearing any id card. And, our interaction with females is comparatively lesser so their identification is slightly difficult for us. So, Abhinash mistook her for somebody else.

How important is formal academic background for cops How has your knowledge of CA helped you in policing?

In civil services, we are expected to be a generalist and not a specialist. We should be able to understand the public, general circulars and orders of the government. In this context, formal academic background is not that important for civil servants. If I have a specialised degree, it’s definitely an add-on. For e.g., some colleagues of mine can’t understand financial complications like budget, etc. For me, it’s extremely easy to understand the financial aspect of my work, as I’m a CA. It helps me in general communication and maintaining public relations too. If a chartered accountant comes to me, I’ll develop a bond with him and can discuss everything freely with him.

CM Devendra Fadnavis had publically appreciated former Nagpur CP SP Yadav for bringing down the crime rate significantly. As the former DCP crime, you deserve kudos for the same. What policies and actions triggered decline in the crime graph in the city?

Firstly, zero tolerance for crime triggered this positive change. Secondly, we have a tool to control crime ? MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999). If some gang is illegally operating and the law permits, we use MCOCA after which for at least six to seven months, they?ll be behind the bars. If an individual is committing crime in which MCOCA act can’t be applied, we use MBDA. Due to Yadav sirs guidance and experience, we used MBDA (38 times) and MCOCA (18 times) for various crime offenders in Nagpur.

There’s also a perception among people that crime graphs are just on papers. What do you say to them?

CM Devendra Fadnavis is also of the view that statistics can mislead, which is true. But, you won’t find a single reference of Nagpur as Crime Capital? post January 2016. The perception has changed.

It’s very easy to face criticism as a police officer. But, not many appreciate police officers for their good deeds. How important is public acknowledgement for boosting the polices morale?

Appreciation works like a tonic for us. We get refreshed and energised. Public acknowledgement is a motivation for us. Having said that, we should be criticised for our bad work too.

There’s a lot of hue and cry among city businessmen that they are being targeted in economic offences cases. As you have handled such cases, how do you respond to this

If we talk about the dabba trading case, there are several people who are into illegal dabba trading, which is like running a parallel stock exchange. The government loses income and service taxes due to this illegal trading which further leads to fluctuations in the stock market. Small investors and poor people are getting affected due to this trading. Essential commodities are also being dealt with, which leads to fluctuations in their price. For e.g. if pulses are available for Rs 20/kg, I’m getting it for Rs 30/kg. The SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) had sent us guidelines through the Ministry of Finance (from the Central government) to conduct raids if we came across any such discrepancies. This is how in a single day, 11 places were raided.

Ravi Agrawal (prime accused in Dabba Trading case) alleged that DCP Deepali Masirkar was way too high handed at that point of time. The case was taken away from her and given to you. There’s a public perception that whatever Agrawal said might be true. What do you have to say on this

Deepali was trying to get the responsibility of some zone since three to four months. She requested Yadav sir to allot her a zone because she wanted to work in field. So, it was decided that Abhinash Kumar would head Zone V. Sanjay Latkar was also transferred and allotted Zone III, and Zone II was allotted to Shailesh Balkawde. So, Deepali was allotted Zone I as per her request. Later on, allegations and counter allegations started arising.

Deepali was not removed from the Dabba Trading case although she was transferred to Zone I. Even when she was posted in Zone I, she would still take care of reviews and various other things. She was also made the in-charge of the review of SIT (Special Investigation Team) on a daily basis. She would give her feedback to CP sir, Joint CP sir and me.

Ravi Agrawal mentioned Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis name too. There were rumours that there was some kind of political pressure. Was there any pressure?

As far as I know, there was no political pressure because it was a highly sensitive case. This case is under media and polices scrutiny. If Ravi Agrawal is alleging something, he has to prove it. He is affluent and has a battery of lawyers to prove his innocence in the court.

It is said that Ravi Agrawal was close to the earlier police set up and his L7 Group? was virtually taking care of traffic barricades, etc. Is there any truth in this

I might be associated with anybody who’s coming to me in a good faith. Similarly, earlier everything was done in a good faith. Later on, when it was found that he was involved in various offences, we got disassociated with him.

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Governance

Dharavi redevelopment to have dedicated areas for manufacturing: Devendra Fadnavis

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi redevelopment will have dedicated areas for manufacturing…

Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

Devendra Fadnavis

The Mah Deputy CM says that Dharavi is a great manufacturing cluster, has been kept in mind while planning its redevelopment.

As Dharavi redevelopment has been announced, doubts were raised on whether this locally evolved entrepreneurial hub will retain its spirit.  In a chat on Sansad TV with Sanjeev Sanyal, Member, PM’s Economic Advisory Council and a writer, on an Economic Sutra episode telecast on Nov 6, the Deputy Chief Minister had made it very clear how he foresees the future of Dharavi and Mumbai.

Saying that his government worked on clearing all the bottlenecks, he adds, “We understood that unless we have a place to rehabilitate people, which is nearby Dharavi, this project will not take off. We found out that there is around 42 acres of land which belongs to the Railways. We approached the Central Government and told them that we’ll free up your land. We’ll buy your land and we’ll give you a share in the profit and we entered into a definitive agreement and now they have handed it over to us.”

“The Dharavi Redevelopment project will be the most unique project ever done. In fact, this redevelopment was visualized by none other than Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 but nothing happened – until 2014 when Modiji came and we started governing Maharashtra. The redevelopment will be no less beautiful than BKC. Dharavi is just not a slum but it’s also a great manufacturing cluster, so what we did was that while planning this scheme we have created areas for this entire manufacturing industry along with planning for the rehabilitation of the people. Right now, this entire manufacturing sector is informal, but after this and over time they will come into the formal sector.”

Watch the full interaction here: https://youtu.be/FNeTrm0v0dw

Also, with Mumbai undergoing so many infrastructural changes, questions have been raised about retaining the quintessential character of “aamchi Mumbai,” which apart from being the financial capital of India is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant cities.

Speaking on the land issues, Fadnavis says, “The usable space in Mumbai is very little. It has length, but has limitations on the breadth so taking into consideration all these problems we wanted to design a very robust system for Mumbai for commuters and for vehicles. That’s why the all the new Coastal Road, which will decongest the western side of Mumbai. It will be a ring road type structure along the coast and this Western Expressway carries 60 percent of the Mumbai traffic right, so all that traffic will be mostly accommodated here.”

Commuting in Mumbai is a killer and every day Mumbaikars spend a lot of time on travel. Saying that he wants to reduce travel within Mumbai from anywhere to anywhere to an hour, Fadnavis explains, “Our Metro three is a very unique 40 kilometers of underground Network, which will be the lifeline of Mumbai. It is estimated to carry around 1.7 million passengers per day! All this work will be finished in two or three years and I want that from any place to any place in Mumbai one should reach within less than one hour – that is the planning. We are also trying to integrate the transportation system. Right now, our Suburban Railway is the lifeline of Mumbai. This Suburban Railway carries around 9 million passengers. The new Metro Network which we are creating will be carrying around 7 million or 8 million passengers, almost doubling the current number.”

Adding to this, the Deputy CM says that the 22 kilometers of Sea Bridge that will connect us to the hinterland, “so we have Mumbai, we have new Mumbai and that will be the third Mumbai that will be a land mass which will be bigger than Mumbai with new Mumbai airport. I think the future growth of Mumbai is on that side!”

Also read: Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Governance

Pritish Nandy’s ‘spirit of Dharavi’ tweet sparks off poverty porn debate

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Nation Next Newsroom | Mumbai

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm…

Dharavi comments of former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy on Friday, kicked off a storm.

Dharavi

Is squalor for cameras, money more important than dignified living for the residents…  

Former parliamentarian and noted media and television personality Pritish Nandy’s Dharavi comments kicked off a storm when he said on Twitter that Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, ‘is not actually a slum but a tribute to the great entrepreneurial spirit of the weakest and smallest person fighting for his or her livelihood in Mumbai. It is also a model in collective coexistence in one of the toughest cities in the world, where nothing else matters. Not caste. Not faith. Not where you come from. But trust and togetherness.’

While this may be true, what is equally true is the squalor and subhuman conditions that reign supreme in this slum. Netizens felt that Nandy, by romanticizing poverty in this manner, was only feeding poverty porn and tourism. Nandy clarified that he was seeking to keep the spirit of Dharavi alive by “researching the architectural grammar, the cultural history that builds integrated and interdependent societies like Dharavi that have survived and flourished over decades and make that the base for the new redevelopment plans. Not just look at the future but also build in the past.”

The Maharashtra Government had on November 29, opened the financial bids for Dharavi redevelopment project.  While 3 companies Adani Realty, DLF and Naman Group had submitted bids, the Adani Group clinched the project with a INR 5,069-crore bid. The timeline for the entire redevelopment of Asia’s largest slum, with an estimated population of 1 million, might take close to 17 years, the rehabilitation of slum dwellers should be complete in seven years. 

Also read: Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Crime

Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea on Dec 6; HC says plea should be heard on priority due to his ill health

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Radhika Dhawad | Mumbai
The Bombay High Court said ex-minister Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues.

Anil Deshmukh

The Bombay High Court said, as per prima facie, 74-year-old former Home Minister of Maharashtra Anil Deshmukh’s bail plea should be heard on priority basis due to the senior leader’s health issues. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the CBI, said that when Deshmukh’s bail plea was moved on medical grounds, then a fresh medical report needed to be called for. 

Singh said, “There is a compilation that has been given now. There are medical papers attached. We need to go through it. Even though this is not a bail application on merit of the case, it is still being circulated under medical issues. He is getting medical treatment as required. Moreover, medical issues are not static. We need a check on what his condition is right now.”

Deshmukh’s advocate Vikram Chaudhari said the senior NCP leader was being treated but has been suffering from several ailments that require constant treatment and care. Chaudhary said, ”He needs to be released. He is a chronic patient.”

Justice MS Karnik said that the court would hear the bail plea on merits. He said, “I am satisfied that we can proceed with the hearing on merits and give it priority. This is my prima facie opinion that priority should be given. One of the medical ailments (that Deshmukh is suffering from) is degenerative.” Deshmukh’s bail plea would now be heard on December 6.

The bench asked Singh whether he was ready to argue on the merits of the case immediately, to which Singh said he would require a week while Chaudhari said that he was ready to argue. However, Justice Karnik said, “We need to give them a fair opportunity.”

Also read: 10 lakh spectators across 50 km; PM Modi makes history with road show for BJP in Ahmedabad

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