Police personnel and the law

On the police vehicle scam and other matters, Home Minister, Lahkmen Rymbui said that the Government would study the enquiry report to see if the findings have violated any laws, before taking action against the officer in question – the former AIG (A) currently posted as Commandant Special Forces-10. Why was the Enquiry Committee set up in the first place unless there were irregularities? And now that the irregularities have been diligently pin-pointed by the Enquiry Committee regarding the purchase of vehicles that were not registered on ground that the Committee has found untenable, why is the Government dragging its feet in taking action instead of showing that it means business and will deal with such irregularities which it refuses to call a ‘scam’ swiftly so as to send a message that such malfeasance will not be tolerated. The fact that Government is dragging its feet in this and other matters like the Meghalaya Assembly Dome collapse suggests that the Government does not care about these blatant acts of corruption. For is it not corruption for a police officer to misuse not one but several official vehicles when those police units that are in dire need of vehicles are deprived of them? And the fact that even fuel for those vehicles being deployed for personal use was paid for from the public exchequer is itself a serious overreach. In such a situation delay means only one thing – the Government has a vested interest in not following the case to its logical end without delay.
The problem of corruption is that it erodes the credibility of all state institutions and in the above case the institution of the Police which is a law enforcing agency. The erosion of public trust in the Police Department makes it vulnerable because people tend to take the law into their own hands as had happened in the Jaintia Hills recently where hardened criminals who escaped from prison were lynched. This lack of trust in the Police also reduces its legitimacy. When the public witnesses that the Government is going slow in punishing the corrupt they begin to normalize corruption. When corruption becomes a social norm as it appears to be happening in Meghalaya, everyone starts seeing it simply as a way to get things done.
Systemic corruption has reduced Meghalaya to a rent seeking economy. Rent seeking is an economic concept where an individual or entity seeks to increase their own wealth without creating any benefit or wealth to the society. Rent seeking activities aim to obtain financial gains and benefits through manipulation of the distribution of economic resources. This is happening far too often, so often that it is normalized. Herein lies the danger.

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