Islamabad: Car theft cases: Police beat the figures, not crime
ISLAMABAD: As auto-theft incidents rise in Islamabad, capital police are stuck dealing only in numbers, not crime, by registering cases under different sections of the law, Dawn has learnt. Under the law, if any vehicle is stolen or snatched, the case is registered under section 381-A of the PPC (Pakistan Penal Code). But sources said that of late the capital police had been registering car theft cases under section 405 to 411 of the “Breach of trust” chapter, just to cover up their inefficiency and inability to fight the crime. In simple terms, these sections are invoked when one of the parties in an agreement fails to keep his side of the deal, said the sources. Through this practice, the police have at least succeeded to manoeuvre the figures of the vehicle theft cases. According to the police record prepared for the authorities concerned, including the interior ministry, 357 vehicles were either stolen or snatched in the capital city between January and August 2012. However, the police manoeuvred the record of at least 51 stolen vehicles by registering the cases under other sections of the law.
A vivid example of the subterfuge came to light when a senior stenographer of the Senate, Taj Mohammad, approached the Margalla police to report the theft of his car. The police registered the case as a complaint under the breach of trust clause.
The victim told Dawn that his 2004 Suzuki Mehran was stolen from the premises of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), where he had taken his wife for treatment. He said after paying the parking fee, he found the specific area full and parked the car near the security guards at the left side of the main emergency gate.
However, one of the guards objected to the parking of the car there though there were already other vehicles. He said he ignored the objection and took his sick wife inside the hospital.
But when he came out later, he found the vehicle missing. In his complaint to the police about the theft of the car, Mr Mohammad also raised suspicion over one of the security guards and the parking contractor. In response, the police registered a case against unidentified persons under section PPC 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust) insisted of 381-A.
The police also rounded up the security guard and the contractor but they were later released on personal surety, he added.
A senior police officer said the case should have been registered under section 381-A of the PPC, as the actual crime was auto-theft, not the breach of trust. Unidentified persons were nominated in the case and the security guard and the contractor were mentioned as accomplices for allegedly helping the culprits. “But the case can also be registered on both the charges,” said the police officer.
Another police officer said the matter would be investigated under section 406 and if the guard and contractor were found not guilty, the case would be closed.
The officer admitted that the capital police were involved in the practice to manoeuvre the crime figures, as most of the people were not aware of the law. “The practice is going on due to some unprofessional officers. Besides, it has nothing to do with curbing the crime, but increases the misery of the victims,” he added.