New Delhi: The Delhi Police has Rs 3.6 crore on offer for those who help catch the city’s most-wanted criminals or aid in tracing the thousands of missing and abducted people, officials have said, giving a rare insight into how civilians are rewarded for helping fight crime.
The figure is a cumulative of bounties and rewards offered till last year, with the lion’s share of Rs 2.58 crore earmarked for those who help find the 1,291 missing or kidnapped individuals.
Bounties for wanted criminals amount to a total of Rs 56 lakh and credible clues that can identify dead bodies carry rewards of Rs 45 lakh in all.
To be sure, these are cases where the police have done their part of the investigation and have no option but to seek help from the people.
“Solving a crime or catching a criminal is primarily the role of the police, but there are a lot of people who have had a bad experience with criminals or those who want to help the system. Offering big amounts as rewards serves as an incentive for them to cooperate with us,” said Ved Marwah, former commissioner of Delhi Police who described the practice as “very helpful”.
“Though most of these rewarded criminals are caught by the police, the role of the public – particularly secret informers – is crucial. Nearly three-fourths of the total reward money goes to them,” said Dependra Pathak, special commissioner of police.
These informers are often paid secretly. “Secrecy is an important aspect in cracking crime. So, we make sure the informer is useful to us again and his or her life is not in danger,” Pathak said.
In addition to rewards, each police unit also has a “secret fund” from which they pay sources to keep information flowing, added Pathak. Another senior police officer, who asked not to be named, said such retainer also helps ensure that informers with a criminal background stay clean.
The police also often reward people for acts of bravery and courage during a crime. “The amount varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 25,000. The money and the recognition serve as encouragement for their show of bravery,” said Vikramjit Singh, deputy commissioner of police, Delhi Police headquarters.