Chetan Prakash, the man who ’stings’ police!April 12th, 2008 - 11:29 am ICT by admin
By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) Chetan Prakash - the name spells dread for Delhi policemen. He is not a criminal, but scores of police personnel are afraid of falling foul of “the sting man”. The 33-year-old low profile property dealer has secured the suspension of 150 cops after secretly filming them harassing people and taking bribes - a la sting operation.
“It all started in 1999. Local police used to trouble vendors by demanding money and beating up those who refused. When I tried to intervene, they locked me up and beat me,” Prakash told IANS.
“That day I decided that I would not take it lying down. I got a tape recorder and taped their voices. Then I appeared before the DCP (deputy commissioner of police), who suspended the two erring policemen. This was how it all began,” Prakash said about his first victory against the system gone wrong.
Prakash’s work recently came to light as 98 policemen were suspended by Delhi Police after his spy camera filmed them extorting money from the operators of the privately-owned fleet of “killer” blueline buses. The cops were seeking bribes to release the buses impounded for rash driving or after an accident.
Prakash carried a spy camera, given to him by his friend, in his cap and pen to film the errant traffic policemen after a bus operator approached him. The tape was submitted before the Delhi High Court.
“I could not afford the spy cam costing Rs.80,000 so my friend bought it for me. We shot the traffic policemen taking bribes in their pickets and booths,” Prakash elaborated.
“I had a hand-held video camera in 2003. I shot around 300 policemen taking money from bootleggers. But police came to know about it and they even tried to kill me. They took away the films,” said Prakash sitting in his office in Shyam Vihar in Najafgarh, southwest Delhi.
“I remained in hiding for one year. In 2005, I submitted the leftover shots of 56 policemen in the high court. This led to the suspension of 26 policemen then.”
Prakash has also filmed policemen at check posts taking money from truck drivers to allow them passage. This led to the suspension of some 25 cops.
His constant brushes with the men in uniform might sound heroic, but his two children, wife and parents live in constant dread.
“They are always afraid that either police will kill me or they will get me killed by some criminal. But my fight is with the system and this helps people as well,” says Prakash in a matter of fact manner.
“Now the policemen talk to me cordially. They recognise my vehicle also, so I will be changing it soon,” Prakash said.
Chetan’s fight, as he sees it, remains yet un-ended.
“I will keep doing the work as long as people come to me for help,” he said.