Mr Karnal Singh (IPS), who served as chief of Enforcement Directorate, speaks with Tarun Nangia on the Legally Speaking program on NewsX.
T.N: Hello and Welcome to Legally Speaking with me Tarun Nangia my guest today has had an illustrious career as a IPS Officer you loss saw him as a chief of the Enforcement Directorate he is known for his forthright views and a no sense personality Mrs. Karnal Singh has recently pend a book about the Batla House in conquer as you can see thisn is the book Karnal Singh the Batla House encounter that shubh the Nation This is publish by Rupa as you can see Rupa publications and in todays UP, Close and Personal Interview he will share anecdotes from his Life from his first posting also and interesting incidents from this book Batla House which were never known to all of us Mrs. Karnal Singh welcome to Legally Speaking. So, let us start from the beginning you have served thirty-four years in the police force and why did you choose to write this book if I may ask you at the outside?
Karnal : See the first reason is I wanted to bring about the excellent work done by my officers what happened is actually some of the officers at lower level that is constables and head constables came to me after my retirement and during the discussion they were telling me that their names never come up though they worked so hard so that is first reason I wanted to bring about what all these people did and secondly what difficulties these officers face when handling any investigations related to terror not only the special cell officers the same difficulties are being faced by the officer of anti-terrors cell of any state or national investigation agency see thirdly is so many years have passed even know there are people here and there they talk about this encounter.
T.N: Yes, the Batla House encounter is very famous and infamous both?
Karnal : Yes though this encounter was examined by the National Human Rights Commission and in 2009 itself NHRC gave its finding that it’s a genuine encounter the report of NHRC was expected by the High Court and the Supreme Court but still such remarks are painful to us so therefore I decided to pen down various events after the blast of place in Delhi on 13th September 2008 how the investigation was done the encounter and after encounter I have to pen down everything in this.
T.N: Okay but this is an UP, Close Personal interview where we will discuss your book we will discuss the person you are we will discuss your first posting so let us start from the beginning when we researching for this interview we came to know that join the IPS wasn’t your plan as they say you were a professor and then you join the police forces?
Karnal : See after my graduation in from Delhi College of Engineering I did post-graduation from IIT Kanpur in Computer Science then I took admission in TIFR Mumbai for PhD my inclination is a teaching and therefore I like a job where I would teach people I would train people and I would have join as a faculty in some of the institutions but what happened is immediately after I passed out from my IIT Kanpur I fell ill and I remained in the hospital on and off for almost two years after I got alright I tried for a job in my discipline different places the Tata consultancy Services and other places I tried the job and meanwhile I appeared in Civil Services Examination though it was never my choice to join these bureaucracy but then before I get an offer for job in my field I got an offer in the Civil Services the Indian Police Service and then I joined it and when I joined it I was not doing what sort of jobs I have to do but in the hand side I feel satisfied and happy about joining this.
T.N: I want to ask you how was your mains interview when it happened you give the prelims of the Civil Services you have passed and you have mains interview you have any recollections of your mains interview?
Karnal : Yes see what happened is since I was not on any job for almost two to three years The chairman of the board ask me what I was doing during this period so I told him that I reading the detective stories and the religious books so he asked some of the detective now us which I have read about them then he went onto the religion most of the questions apart from my discipline that is physics and electronics most were from the religion like what is the karma Yoga what is written in Geeta then Ayurveda some quotes he ask me so I felt that my interview was very good because of the chairman and the board was considerate wanted to know whether what I was telling was truth or that was not truth.
T.N: so when you were selected what was your first demotion if you remember that when you got to know you have been selected for the Civil Services after mains interview you realise that what career you were getting into or you were to young to realise it in that sense?
Karnal : See I hail from the rural background my father was a farmer I was not aware of bureaucracy not aware of the even the structure of the government and I would say I only looked at yes I am joining a police service beyond that I was not aware what will be my ultimate role what difficulties or challenges I have to face I was not aware at that time.
T.N: so you passed and you got your first posting in the Delhi Police you got the UT card as they said which is Delhi Arunachal Pradesh and Goa these three domains?
Karnal: Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa Mizoram, Andaman.
T.N: and you served in all those places?
Karnal: No, I served in Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Goa.
T.N: Four places now to start with what was the first stay of your first job where were you posted initially?
Karnal: See initially I was posted in Licensing branch of Delhi Police for a few months and then I was posted in the field as ACP Moti Nagar.
T.N: So how was the first few days in BCB Licensing Branch where you were posted you posted in ACP so what did you do what is the initial work that you were assigned what did you deliver any sought of good work or recognition that you got in your first posting?
Karnal: See Licensing Branch basically deals in Licenses for arms for eating houses for cinema halls.
T.N: and this was in what year?
Karnal: it was in 1987.
T.N: 1987 so the Delhi of 1987 but nothing was Everything was manual?
Karnal: Yes the records were manual at that time and then I looked at so many applications for pending about the eating houses so i picked up all those applications and did survey of all those places including the areas of Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk and all these places and to my surprise many of the places the eating house was closed because the applications were pending for so long so therefore what was required and what is required is the monitoring of the pendency so that was my reaction to why I joining the service that one thing is the subordinates put a file to us and we decide the second thing is we look into the files and find out where the files are pending and force the people to put up the files in proper manner so that the files are not delayed un necessarily and this delayed submission of the file also result into corruption because then people farm up some subordinate and only that file will be put up so I decided since beginning itself that the files monitoring system one should manage wherever one is posted.
T.N: At that place where you give any responsibility to computerise or that age was the manual age and continued till time?
Karnal: See what happened is after this I went to ACP Moti Nagar I remained there for along one year what happened at that time was Delhi Police was computerising their systems so it was about to the Crime Criminal system the personal information system and burau system and keeping my background and mine I was transferred to as ACP Computers and then promoted as DCP Computers while doing this one day Commissioner of Police Raja Vijay Karan he called me in his office and there was a team of software engineers from some firm was sitting with him they were planning and discussing about the Computerization of Licensing so after they eft I told the commissioner police that why are you giving this project to this Company we can do in house so he was bit surprise he says that this officer this young officer is taking a challenge.
T.N: Yes, because otherwise in government department they outsource everything you give it to consultants to complete?
Karnal: Yes, so then through by staff I got it done and it was inaugurated at that time the software by the then Minister of State or the government of India Home affairs and commissioner of police gave regards of twenty-five thousand to my subordinates for completing that project so that was very satisfying.
T.N: did you receive any recognition for this when you were recognised in that this was some young officer?
Karnal: Yes, during the inauguration the CP told abut me to the whole gathering
T.N: that instead of getting people from outside this young officer has done it himself save the money to the so that was one I think initial one of the appreciation and the accurate new now moving forward I would like to know what happened after that how many years did you spent in Moti Nagar or as DCP Computers ACP Computers how many?
Karnal: So it was a very short period before I left for Arunachal Pradesh in 1989 there was one more challenge I got see what happened is at that time Constables recruitment used to be done by Delhi Police even know it is being done so the sports mark were thirty marks then written marks were frothy and was thirty written was subjective type I was sent for written examination evaluation so there was a big hall after the examination was done where one table three chair for one groups of checking and there were around such twenty to thirty tables were there each table was given certain papers so what I observed is some senior officers would come take out a paper and check himself which we should have check so I came back and I used to report to the number two in Delhi Police Mrs. Arun Bhagat so I told him this episode so he says okay next time you should conduct the examination so I made objective type paper next time and to be checked by the sheets so that we can do very fast checking so when I went there with these objective type there were objections from the invigilators of the paper they were not happy about it they even commented that Karnal Singh will take Delhi Police to twenty first century so however the senior most officer who was there Mrs. Chandra Prakash he ultimately shouted at that said that you please do your job though examination was conducted result was declared then interviews were there so I was compiling the core results so I did between written exams and interview the core relation I found everything core relation so I reported this to again Mrs Arun Bhagat Singh that there is something wrong with interviews the people were getting very good marks in written they are not getting they are getting poor marks sometimes in interview so then he says you suggest something so what I suggested is that there should be ten interview core and nobody should know which candidate is coming to them from headquarter we’ll have ten envelopes sent to them through a courier or before examination or before the interview starts and randomly those envelops should be given to those interviewers so even we know nor they know nor the candidates know so there is no possibility of getting support from any quarter secondly I requested for change of marks from thirty four the to eleven less marks so it was excepted then after when I came back from Arunachal I was in so I was again given task of conducting the test then we computerized it like test were computerised like done in UPSC said checking was done these number of boards were there CCT were put so then after there was no complaint of anything about the recruitment so I think I brought transparency in the recruitment of the electronics.
T.N: and this was in the early days of your career in the first three four years know moving in from that did you get transfer to Arunachal Pradesh after being in as ACP computers so what was the experience in Arunachal Pradesh like what happened in Arunachal Pradesh as you told me you were a Delhi boy you was born and brought up in Delhi now people in big cities can’t get used to small places easily so a what was the good point of being in Arunachal Pradesh and what was the difficulty that you had?
Karnal: See difficulty was that the office support of rules and regulations was not very good like the clerks in the office will tell if you ask something what is the rule he says sir whatever you like is a rule so one has to start reading the rule books state law as well as central laws so that is one advantage I wrote it basically a book on customaries laws of Arunachal Pradesh because the whole IPC system doesn’t work there everywhere it works only at that time withing 5km of the headquarter and two hundred meter on the either side of the state highways remaining state it was customaries laws which were applicable so I conducted a seminar and edited a book on that at that time then I found that people in that place were very truthful truth straight forward and that’s a good to work with them good to be associated with them honest people I work in Born villa for two years after working Eta Nagar for one year I started because there was a lot of time available when you wort at these places I started playing the cricket with the students local people the college students and secondly I used to go them in forests sometimes for also so that built a Congreve initiate the closeness between the local people and me and there was a very good experience with them.
T.N: So, in Arunachal you learnt about the different kind of people in a sense because North Indian Culture and culture in North East is two different cultures they come from and you got a new experience of culture of Arunachal Pradesh any other memory that you have of being in Bombay in Etta Nagar?
Karnal: See very interesting anecdote I’ll tell you the one day Secretary Industry went me up saying that your post able at the border Arunachal and Assam border that is a b up a place has taken money from their truck driver so I told him lets go to the border so both of them we reach the border we have taken the truck driver in our car so I asked truck driver he pointed out towards the constable from a distance then I and secretary Industry approach the constable and said him you have taken the money from the Industry Truck He says yes Sir so where is that money so he showed it to me I said why did you took money from him sir I have not taken money he has given me money he was a local lite so when I said him what will you do he told sir we have over on the tea making system where we use this money for that tea making so I asked Secretary Industry what should I do should I Suspend him he says no leave it he was so truthful and straight forward so we corrected the system there I started giving them from my funds but you see the simplicity of the person.