DailyPost 2109

While the probationers in police are taught about criminal gangs of yore; of the days of dacoity, road hold ups and burglary and a large number of crimes based on modus operandi, modern day opened newer vistas of crime. Some were built on the expertise gained out of the conventional crimes, while new ones kept getting added. Today money laundering to organized crime to terrorism will not find a mention in the history of traditional crimes. Moving further the crimes of the cyber world and the ones emanating out of our existence in the social media world, will tell a different story altogether. The impact any genre of crime makes is directly proportional to the attention it grabs, and the efforts made to curb, if not eliminate it.

The understanding has been that criminality is limited to groups of people called criminals and that they can be tackled by the long arm of law. They are very small in number and generally not dispersed. The criminals’ groups are believed to be the main practitioners of crime, specialise in different offences, and most of the offences committed are their handiwork. The general world is no way connected to it, but for becoming victims of it. This means that there is a clear-cut difference between criminals and non-criminals. Criminal history is thus a history of criminal gangs / groups or a history of a well-known genres of crime. What we talk of state and non-state actors in the realm of cyber-crime / security did not exist till the advent of this genre of crime. You could safely recognize a non-criminal, but that is not the case anymore.

Quite often we are bewildered as to how someone known to us or in positions known to be responsible or in professions known to totally unconnected to the criminal world, throw up offenders. We need to get into few classes and areas, which are transforming the landscape, to be documented or researched upon, in the interest of having an objective history of it. It would help in devising remedial action. and implemented when needed. It can help in planning and initiating legal enactments to curb this malaise. If we talk of the political class, there are variety of cases that are registered against them. There is whole genre of cases today which fall under the general understating of political cases. The law of the land does not accept this categorization. It is also taken as an excuse to withdraw cases. From criminals being on the fringes of the political ecosystem, today we have quite a few from the political class, involved in serious offences. Voting from jail or being a candidate while being inside, is not a rarity.

The wide spectrum of crimes being committed by this class deserves serious documentation, as a chronicle of crime, otherwise the connects, patterns, causality etc would be lost forever. We will keep believing that these were aberrations, for the lack of the complete picture of it. Some crimes are across board, some are area specific and there would be many that can be termed as opportunity specific. From political murders / violence happening for long many years, money laundering seems to have taken the pride of place today. This is without any indulgent investigation into Panama / Paradise / Pandora papers with clear cut leads available. There would be lots of leads locally available as well. From 1993 JMM bribery case till today’s legislative hitchhiking happening quite openly, the historian has to keep track of. In the same manner, the criminal history of communal discord, with treacherous actions or giving appropriate action a go by, has to through the historians discerning eye. Procurement can itself be in the best of genre crime history. Can it remain a political football? It’s time this genre of criminal history is objectively recorded with clear cut conclusions for posterity to decide, on the wheeling dealing of the de facto democracy of India.

Sanjay Sahay

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