Dr. Amar Kumar Pandey, is an IPS officer and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Karnataka. He has a PhD from the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, in refugee studies.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Pandey has served as Human Rights Officer in Banja Luka and as Human Rights Coordinator in Doboj region as a peacekeeper in the United Nations Mission. In Sierra Leone, he has served as Police Monitor in Makeni and as Police Advisor to the National Police in Freetown in the United Nations Mission.
Dr. Pandey has been awarded the Police Medal for Gallantry by the Government of India, and decorated with the President of India Medal for Distinguished Service and the President of India Medal for Meritorious Service. He has been awarded the Medals of Service for International Peacekeeping Service in the conflict zones of Bosnia Herzegovina and Sierra Leone by the United Nations. He is the recipient of the prestigious Zachman Award in the field of Enterprise Architecture.
Q. What are the problems that the police force is facing, in Karnataka specifically or generally pan-India, in dealing with the law and order situation during the Covid-19 pandemic?
The pandemic is universal and hasn’t spared the policemen or the medical fraternity. Both the entities were the first line of public defence which encountered the gradual onslaught of Covid-19. Across the country, more policemen have laid down their lives, going beyond the call of duty braving the pandemic than in any ‘Law and Order’ or ‘insurgency’ problems. Policemen have proven to be the true saviours as the last sentinel against the deadly virus.
The pandemic came to the country in waves – first came the foreigners from some of the affected countries and spread the virus absolutely unknowingly. The next wave happened with Tablighi Jamaat Markaz where a few infected persons from abroad also participated and it spread to local members of the Jamaat. The third wave happened with large scale migration of ‘shramic’ to different parts of the country which made the traceability impossible .
The policemen were in the forefront in all the management issues of the three waves of spread of the virus. Police traced the foreigners, Tablighi Jamaat members spread across the country and ensured food, shelter and safe movement of ‘shramic’ across the nation .
The duties at public places, arranging safe passage of essential commodities across the country while ensuring effective lockdown over a long period posed unthinkable problems to police which were overcome with unprecedented unity, commitment, dedication, superb coordination across the different states and manning the inter-state and inter-district check posts effectively .
The police rose to the unimaginable challenges with zeal, enthusiasm and sincerity never experienced by the nation before and which brought tears to the eyes of sensitive people. The Indian Police reflected the true meaning of unity and integrity before the country.
Q. You headed the team that recently got underworld don Ravi Pujari extradited from Senegal. Were there any problems in terms of international law that you faced in achieving this feat?
Ravi Pujari is the country’s most feared underworld don absconding since 1994 after committing numerous murders in Mumbai, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala and other parts of the country. There are over 200 cases against him ranging from murders, attempts to murder, extortions and Arms Act cases. He was with Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar for ten years as a key gangster and separated with him over the Mumbai Blast of 1993. Chota Rajan (now in jail) another dreaded gangster made a deadly underworld company with Ravi Pujari. Together the duo eliminated a dozen key operatives of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar or the D – Company. Dawood has escaped to Dubai and is now said to be hiding there in the protection of governmental elements of enemy nations.
Ravi Pujari left Chota Rajan over a serious misunderstanding and went with a dreaded toughie Guru Satam and formed his own company of gangsters with hardcore and lethal sharpshooters. He bent entire Bollywood to its knees. The businessmen, politicians and professionals including lawyers did not escape his ire. He got everything done in India what he wanted while sitting abroad.
For the last 24 years all were gunning for him – India’s agencies, Dawood gangs and Chota Rajan gangs besides police forces of Maharastra, Mumbai, Karnataka, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala and other states. In fact, hundreds of cases were closed as untraceable against him .
In this background one has to understand the international effort made by me singlehandedly. The ‘singlehand’ sobriquet was given to me by DGP Karnataka after the successful arrest of Ravi Pujari in Senegal.
There was absolute understanding between the two countries – the requesting country India and requested country Senegal. The two countries don’t have any extradition treaty which was an issue in the beginning. But we made a request under the bilateral treaty under the Treaty on Prevention of Organised Crime (UNTOC) Art. 16 which was agreed upon immediately. Besides, we made a request based on ‘principal of reciprocity’ in good faith which Senegal Government consented to as an international gesture between friendly countries.
The gangster Ravi Pujari also got to exercise his full legal rights through the various courts by hiring the most expensive lawyer in Senegal. He fought for his rights not to be extradited in the Supreme Court of Senegal which finally rejected his request on February 19 this year on the grounds of agreement between sovereigns and sufficiency of evidence submitted before the honourable Supreme Court of Senegal with all due processes complied with.
In fact, in case of extradition of another gangster Abu Salem from Portugal, due to certain procedural lapses the extradition request was first rejected and the government of India had to explore several alternative mechanisms to finally extradite him.
However, with my personal observance and appropriate support from National Crime Bureau (NCB) India, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs for all procedures being complied in time, the dreaded don Ravi Pujari got extradited without any trouble which is a matter of national pride and personal satisfaction for me.
Q. Your book ‘The Architecture of Return in Civil War’ provides a very detailed analysis of the return of refugees in post-civil war situations, with special references to Bosnia Herzegovina and Sierra Leone. Your PhD thesis was on refugee law. What makes you so interested in the issue of refugees?
I was deputed by the Government of India as part of the Peace Keeping Operations to Bosnia – Herzegovina (1998-99) and to Sierra Leone ( 2004-05). I was part of the International Peacekeepers as United Nations Civil Police ( CIVPOL). In Bosnia I headed the Doboj Region Human Rights unit as the Regional Coordinator and in Sierra Leone I served as the Advisor to the Sierra Leone Police.
I extensively toured the two war ravaged countries where the people had fled during the civil wars and were returning to the countries after the peace agreements had made provisions for return.
I directly addressed the problems of refugee return in Bosnia starting from the moment intent of return was expressed by the refugees through physical appearance in my office or by letters written until the refugees settled on the property which belonged to them before the civil war.
I have personally dealt with the entire gamut of issues connected with the return of refugees in Bosnia and it changed me a great deal to personally experience the hardships of refugees.
In Sierra Leone, though I did not directly deal with the subject of return but due to my interest in the issue from my Bosnia experience, I visited refugee camps and interacted with refugees who were staying in camps during civil wars and those returning from returning countries, as the UN peacekeeping monitor in Makeni and other parts of the country.
The experiences in both the countries motivated me to acquire better knowledge and understanding of the issues of the refugees’ return and I enrolled for a Ph D programme at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore under Prof. Vijayakumar, UNHCR Chair at the university, on the thesis of refugees’ return .
Q. You have received the prestigious John Zachman Award for Enterprise Architecture. How important is enterprise architecture in aiding the police in doing its job more smoothly and should there be training for officers on this subject?
The Zachman Framework of Enterprise Architecture was developed by leading philosopher John Zachman in the 1950s. This is a very important framework taught, discussed, debated and commented upon in all leading universities to the students of Computer Science, Information Technology and Industrial Management .
Zachman Framework is a very complex framework which deals with the complexities of millions of variables which interact with each other sequentially and simultaneously to decide the destiny of an enterprise’s creation, sustainability, continuity and longevity.
Most fortune listed and billion dollars businesses and industries have been making best efforts to comprehend the Zachman Framework and to adopt it in their functioning to ensure longevity of their enterprises. But many have given up on the framework due to lack of comprehension and inability to integrate the variable in their own enterprises. There have been questions raised regarding the existence of an all encompassing framework to explain the enterprise anatomy and its criticality and functionality. Many find the framework to be an utopia .
However, I have been a student of the framework since 2009. I always felt enormously awed by the imagination of a master crafter of the framework who could think of venturing into the area of integrating millions of variables of an enterprise.
The sheer audacity of thinking of a framework is akin to the ancient astrophysicist who would have said that there are billions and billions of galaxies in the universe. The truth is out now and we all believe it today as proven through our scientific research and findings.
I am a policeman. I feel naturally attracted to look for discovery of a fact through experimentation with vague suspicions or hypothesis. I began to validate with existing facts of investigation of crime and its superimposition with the Zachman Framework. I surprisingly found that the framework holds good specially with limited and controlled experimentations. Gradually I expanded the variables in the framework and found it to be still valid.
Hence, while doing my PhD I wished to validate the framework in the refugees’ return matrix. I found it works and provides a definite mechanism, schema and framework which can be worked upon by the planners and policy makers to save time and costs, to optimise the effectiveness of the goal, i.e. refugees’ return.
I feel it is a beautiful framework, unparalleled and the only one available to comprehend extreme complexities and unravel the mystery of system of systems. I feel the need to make Zachman Framework a part of more elaborate curriculum for future generations that would help the students and future citizens and academicians of the country think, plan and execute in a better manner .
Q. The police has to intrinsically deal with the judiciary and the laws on a regular basis. What are the systemic problems that cops usually face in dealing with the laws — in their investigations, filing FIRs, reports or chargesheets, etc. — and how can they be fixed?
The Police and the Judiciary are part of the country’s Criminal Justice system. The end goal or maxim of both the institutions are the same ‘ aut punier aut dedere ‘ – offender must be punished .
The police has myriad problems while investigating the cases in terms of collection of evidences and present before the courts. The laws don’t pose problems, the situation does, in the sense of the enormity of cases, volume of cases, technological issues and shortage of staff and so on, do create problems for police.
The police actually needs more technology, better integrations of data, highly trained experts to support investigations and uniform formatting of flow of information. The Zachman Framework can be a very useful framework to reorganise situations in this area to make a better policing infrastructure.
Q. Do you think that police personnel lack training in dealing with collection of forensic evidences during investigations?
Forensic training is an integral part of police training. The collection of physical evidence is not such a problem. But when it comes to cyber forensics, financial forensics, material forensics and such other very specialised criminal pattern then the police feels the inadequacies. In fact, a more holistic and integrated training in all aspects of forensics is the need of the hour.
Q. Last month your Personal Assistant had tested positive for coronavirus following which you and your family had to go into quarantine. Thankfully you and everyone in your family tested negative for Covid. You’re an officer with immense responsibilities but ultimately you’re human. What kind of emotions or apprehensions did you have when you underwent the test?
Yes. It is a fact. My PA had no symptoms except the fever and backache. She informed me and went for a check up. The test results came as positive and being a primary contact I quarantined myself and my family too as a precaution. She recovered well. I was worried for a while for my family and my own self. It was also being covered in the media which had huge impact on the mind as being something too terrible, which it is actually for some unfortunate people who are not amidst us today. However I exhibited no sign of internal turmoil lest it disturbs the family and friends. I and my family went for the test separately and fortunately it turned out to be negative for us. Gratefully, it has gone off well so far.