The increasing number of cases from last few years has caused the Economic Offences Cell (EOC) of Goa Police to face a serious and constant struggle to match its limited manpower. EOC presently has only 5 cops to handle the 33 economic offenses. EOC has previously sanctioned almost half the requirement but none of them were technically qualified for the specialized work. How they are managing the work? Here is the report.
The allowed strength to the EOC can be broadly divided into a Superintendent of Police, Dy SP, two inspectors, two sub-inspectors, one assistant sub-inspector, three head constables, one lady head constable, two constables and three lady police constables.
When checked on paper, apart from the SP and Dy SP, EOC has only one PI, two PSIs, one head constable, one lady head constable and three lady constables. But currently, the active team comprises only five personnel, including SP (EOC) Priyanka Kashyap, Dy SP Ezilda D Souza, PI Shivram Vaigankar and two other sub-inspectors.
Answering on the present state-of-affairs, SP Kashyap said, “It is tough to function with less manpower since each investigation under this unit demands a lot of paperwork, intricate probe which deals with accountancy and economics. Due to a shortage of technical staff, this becomes difficult, especially with the ever-increasing workload.”
At present, EOC is investigating 33 cases of economic and financial offenses, including the ongoing case involving Kamakshi Forex Pvt Ltd. The shortage felt of manpower and technical assistance is weighing down this specialized unit. It was learned that the request for additional staff which was forwarded in 2013 has been under process since then, due to the lack of funds.
EOC of Goa Police has also been functioning without an accountant, and such experts need to be sourced on a case-to-case basis. Every request made from EOC for an accountant during an investigation has fallen on deaf ears. Employees who had investigated cases of EOC in the past confirmed this problem. Officer revealed that “A chartered accountant has never been provided during the investigation when we need such an expert the most. A charge sheet is expected to be filed within 60 days and we couldn’t keep waiting.”
It was also revealed that the additional charge of SP (EOC) was created back in 1999-2000 in order to deal with specialized and technical cases related to financial irregularities and fraud. 52 cases have been registered with the EOC for last 4yrs. But from this one of these has resulted in a conviction, while of the rest, 18 are under trial.
EOC which is currently based in the Police Headquarters has yet to be notified as a police station and functions under the Crime Branch of Goa Police. This restricts EOC to register its cases and it also does not allow to operate as a round-the-clock establishment. It does not even have a lock-up of its own and those arrested have to be placed in the lock-ups of various police stations which make it tougher for EOC to source them for questioning each time.
A proposal is yet to be taken up by the administration, asking for the notification of the unit, of which the file presently being moved up the ladder.