Giuliani accidentally calls reporter, leaves voicemail about needing ‘a few hundred thousand’ dollars

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HILL NEWS)

 

Giuliani accidentally calls reporter, leaves voicemail about needing ‘a few hundred thousand’ dollars

President Trump‘s lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared to accidentally call an NBC News reporter and leave a voicemail in which he can be heard discussing money, NBC reported Friday.

The call came in after 11 p.m. on Oct. 16 and Giuliani appeared to be speaking with someone else in the same room, according to the news outlet, which published a portion of the audio.

The former New York City mayor discussed the kingdom of Bahrain and someone named Robert, according to NBC.

“You know, Charles would have a hard time with a fraud case ‘cause he didn’t do any due diligence,” Giuliani said.

It was not clear who Charles is, NBC reported.

“Let’s get back to business,” he reportedly continued. “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain.”

Giuliani is then heard saying he has “got to call Robert again tomorrow.”

“Is Robert around?” Giuliani asked.

“He’s in Turkey,” responded the other man in the room.

“The problem is we need some money,” Giuliani said, adding after several seconds of silence, “we need a few hundred thousand.”

NBC News reported that Giuliani had worked with somebody called Robert Mangas in the past, who is a registered agent of Turkey’s government and co-shareholder of the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, which Giuliani worked for until May 2018.

But a spokeswoman for the law firm noted, “It could not have been Robert Mangas on the phone since [he] has not been to Turkey since 2013 and Mr. Mangas has not spoken to Mr. Giuliani since before he left Greenberg Traurig in May 2018.”

“Mr. Mangas and Mr. Giuliani never worked together on any matters related to Turkey, including the Zarrab case,” she added. “In fact, affidavits were filed with the court confirming that the two representations were and would be separate and that the firm put up an ethical screen to be sure these matters were kept separate, which is how these situations are handled.”

NBC also noted Giuliani’s connections in Bahrain, including a meeting last December with King Hamad Bin Isa al-Khalifa.

This isn’t the first time Giuliani has accidentally called an NBC reporter; last month he left another voicemail in which he insisted he was the target of attacks because he was making public accusations about former vice president Joe Biden, NBC reported

— Updated at 6:29 p.m.

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER)

 

Ukraine ambassador William Taylor’s testimony backs Senate Republicans into a corner

William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, admitted in a closed-door hearing before Congress today that he had been acting under the impression that there was indeed a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

This is bad news for Trump, and even worse for the Senate Republicans who will undoubtedly be forced to take a side when the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings move to the Senate for a trial.

Taylor’s opening statement, obtained by the Washington Post, confirms that the U.S. planned to withhold military and financial aid from Ukraine if the country didn’t assist the U.S. in its investigations into 2016 election interference. This might not be great diplomacy, but it isn’t illegal — the investigation into election interference is a legitimate government operation which, due to its nature, is somewhat dependent on foreign cooperation.

Forcing Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival, however, is another matter entirely, and one that lies at the center of Taylor’s testimony. At question here is a conversation Taylor had in September with Gordon Sondland, the United States’ envoy to the European Union. “As I said on the phone,” Taylor said in September, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

To which Sondland replied: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”

Taylor’s message was originally interpreted as a reaction to media reports that the U.S. was unnecessarily withholding military aid from Ukraine. But in his opening statement before Congress, Taylor confirmed that his message was not merely a reaction to the media, but a condemnation of a coordinated effort by Trump, Sondland, and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

“I said on Sept. 9 in a message to [Sondland] that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the U.S. would be ‘crazy,’” Taylor said in his testimony, “I believed that then, and I still believe that.”

Taylor then lays out the timeline of Trump’s interactions with Zelensky and the “highly irregular” channel of U.S. policy making in Ukraine that included then-Special Envoy Kurt Volker, Sondland, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and Giuliani. This “irregular” channel actively worked against U.S. interests and in favor of Trump’s personal interests, Taylor said.

“By mid-July it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on the investigations of Burisma [the Ukrainian oil company that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, worked for] and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,” Taylor said in his testimony. “It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani.”

Taylor soon after realized that the hold placed on security assistance to Ukraine by the Office of Management and Budget ran counter to the State and Defense Departments’ recommendation that the U.S. assist Ukraine in its battle against Russia, and that it had more to do with Sondland’s demand that Ukraine commit to an investigation into Hunter Biden’s dealings with Burisma than it did with the U.S.’s investigation into election meddling.

Taylor’s testimony is both clarifying and damning for the Trump allies and Senate Republicans who have insisted there was no quid pro quo. Ukrainian officials might not have been aware that foreign aid was being withheld, but the U.S. government certainly was aware. And if it wasn’t clear before, it is now clear that Trump had a personal agenda and used Sondland and Giuliani to further it.

Impeachment will move forward, which means the Senate will eventually need to decide whether Trump was guilty of foreign malfeasance. Taylor’s testimony just made it that much harder to rule in his favor. His congressional allies will continue to stand by him, especially if House Democrats continue to treat impeachment like a campaign promise they need to fulfill.

But there will be other Trump-skeptical senators wary of the president’s blatant abuse of power who might just drift to the pro-impeachment side. Republicans control the Senate 53-47. It takes 67 votes to convict. Taylor’s testimony might just tip the scales.

Philadelphia: 11-Month Old Shot 4 Times In Back Seat Of Car

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

An 11-month-old baby is in extremely critical condition after being shot four times while seated inside the back of a car in Philadelphia.a red car: Police lights on a police cruiser.© STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images Police lights on a police cruiser.The incident happened on Saturday night at around 8 p.m. in the Hunting Park neighborhood in Philadelphia.

The child was seated in the back of a car being driven by the baby’s stepmother when the woman reported that she heard shots being fired in the area.

The woman drove for a few blocks before turning around and realizing that her car had been shot and the baby had been hit by four bullets that penetrated the vehicle: once in the head, once in the chest, and twice in the back according to ABC’s Philadelphia station WPVI.

The child was then rushed to Einstein Medical Center where they were listed in critical condition. Police did not confirm whether the child was a boy or a girl.

Police canvassed the crime scene looking for shell casings and appealing for witnesses to come forward who heard shots in the area. As of now, no physical evidence has been found from where the crime occurred.

Only a few blocks away about an hour before the 11-month-old child was shot, police reported that three men were injured in a triple shooting.

Police confirmed to WPVI that a 28-year-old man was shot in the stomach, a 41-year-old man was shot in

the back and a 35-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh. The three men are all expected to survive and are listed in stable condition.

It is unknown if the two incidents are related but police are investigating that possibility. No arrests have been made in either one of the cases.

NYC To Close Notorious Rikers Island Jail

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

New York City Council votes to close notorious Rikers Island jail

New York (CNN)The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to close Rikers Island jail Thursday and open four new borough-based facilities instead.

“Today is a day that the history books will look back on as a good day for New York City,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “This is a step forward, this is progress, this is the right thing to do.”
The jail, which is on an island in the East River, has become a symbol of the ills of pretrial detention, most famously in the case of Kalief Browder. Browder took his own life after spending three years incarcerated at Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime.
The jail is also notorious for its violence and poor conditions. The US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York reached a settlement with the city in 2015 after a multi-year investigation found adolescent inmates were not protected from “the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by New York City Department of Correction staff and violence inflicted by other inmates.”
The balcony in the city council chamber was cleared prior to the vote after protesters chanted, “No new jails.”
The majority leader claimed that something had been thrown from the balcony, noting “throwing things from the balcony compromises the safety of every member of this body.”
A protester responded “your safety is not in jeopardy, the safety of young black and brown people is in jeopardy.”
“The era of mass incarceration is over. It’s over,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference after the vote.
“This is about valuing our people, no longer condemning people and sending them on a pathway that only made their lives worse and worse.”
According to de Blasio, New York’s jail population has declined by nearly half in the last six years. The jail population has declined from 11,000 in 2014 to about 7,000 today, and is projected to be approximately 3,300 by 2026, de Blasio added in a press release.

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

2 Giuliani Associates Tied to Ukraine Scandal Arrested on Campaign Finance Charges

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, were also part of the pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

ImageRudy Giuliani, left, and Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last month.
Credit Aram Roston/Reuters

WASHINGTON — Two associates of the president’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged in a separate case with violating campaign finance laws, according to court documents.

The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, believed to be important witnesses in the House’s impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, were arrested on campaign finance charges. The arrests and charges were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, were also indicted.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gin up investigations in Ukraine into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter Biden, among other potentially politically beneficial investigations for Mr. Trump. Mr. Parnas had been scheduled to participate in a deposition with House impeachment investigators on Capitol Hill on Thursday, and Mr. Fruman on Friday. Neither had been expected to show up voluntarily. House Democrats were preparing to issue subpoenas to force them to do so.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested and were expected to appear in court in Northern Virginia on Thursday, according to a spokesman in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan.

The indictment said Mr. Parnas and Mr. Kukushkin are Ukrainian-born Americans, while Mr. Fruman was born in Belarus and became an American citizen. Mr. Correia is American-born. Mr. Kukushkin was arrested Thursday in California, and Mr. Correia was still at large, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman have acted as emissaries in Ukraine for Mr. Giuliani as he has sought to uncover information about, and encourage investigations into, Mr. Trump’s rivals, including Mr. Biden.

Mr. Parnas, who has known Mr. Giuliani for years, worked with Mr. Fruman to connect Mr. Giuliani to Ukrainian prosecutors who provided information to Mr. Giuliani, as The Times revealed in May.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman are based in South Florida, and are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC last year, prompting a Federal Election Commission complaint by a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog accusing the men and the company of violating campaign finance laws.

Last month, Mr. Giuliani sought to minimize the significance of the campaign finance inquiry into the two men.

“They had a campaign finance issue,” he said in an interview late last month. “I referred them to a campaign finance expert who pretty much resolved it.”

Their lawyer, John M. Dowd, who previously represented Mr. Trump against the special counsel’s inquiry, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrest.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Nicholas Fandos and Kenneth P. Vogel contributed reporting.

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated the custody status of two men who were indicted. Andrey Kukushkin was arrested in California, and David Correia was still at large, not the reverse.

Eileen Sullivan is the morning breaking news correspondent in Washington. She previously worked for The Associated Press for a decade, covering national security and criminal justice. @esullivannyt

Adam Goldman reports on the F.B.I. from Washington and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. @adamgoldmanNYT

William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @WRashbaum  Facebook

Brazil: Fachin denies appeal that could annul Lava Jato proceedings

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Fachin denies appeal that could annul Lava Jato proceedings

Rapporteur of the case in the Federal Supreme Court, Minister Edson Fachin voted against the appeal dealing with the order of the defendants’ final allegations in a lawsuit and could affect one of former President Lula’s rulings. The session was concluded after Fachin’s vote

247 – Rapporteur of the case in the Supreme Court, Minister Edson Fachin voted against the appeal dealing with the order of the defendants’ final allegations in a case and may affect one of former President Lula’s rulings. The session was concluded after Fachin’s vote.

After the vote, which lasted three hours and took the whole session, the trial was suspended and the session adjourned. In the afternoon of tomorrow (26), the collegiate resumes the analysis of the case with the vote of the minister Alexandre de Moraes.

The trial discusses the order of submission of the final allegations by collaborating and non-collaborating defendants in criminal proceedings and has the power to overturn judgments of the Lava Jato operation, including that of former judge Sérgio Moro who has held in custody for over a year. former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

In his explanation, Fachin argued that one would be facing a debate that does not concern a question between prosecution and defense, but between defense and defense. “Would there be illegality or abuse of power by failing to comply with an express legal rule that does not exist?” 

“The procedural law differentiates the moments of the MP and the defense. It does not distinguish, however, the moment of participation between the defenses due to the possible collaborative posture on the part of one of the parties. prosecution, “he said.

“The order of submission of final allegations by prosecution and defense is to establish a minimum of balance of force. Parity of arms. But this logic does not transfer mechanically to the winning collaboration. Delation must be analyzed to see whether or not it is efficient,” concluded the minister.

Brazil: Lava Jato spares Odebrecht owners and executives to plead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS AGENCY)

 

Lava Jato spares Odebrecht owners and executives to plead

The new chapter of Vaza Jato reveals that contractor Odebrecht’s owner Emilio was spared tougher measures, such as the obligation to relinquish control, so that prosecutors could strike award-winning deal deals with company executives. At another controversial point, the company was allowed to pay the fines of its award-winning whistle blowers.

Emilio Odebrecht to Leave Odebrecht Board Early
Emilio Odebrecht to Leave Odebrecht Board Early

247 – The new chapter of Vaza Jato, brought by journalists Ricardo Balthazar and Paula Bianchi, in a report published in Folha, reveals behind-the-scenes negotiations about Odebrecht’s award-winning accusation. “Prosecutors of Operation Lava Jato spared Odebrecht and its top executives from drastic measures contemplated during negotiations on the billion-dollar deal that ensured the company’s cooperation with investigations starting in 2016,” the report said.

“Investigators also discussed the possibility of preventing Odebrecht from paying whistle blowers’ lawyers and being liable for fines imposed on executives to prevent them from preserving their accumulated assets when they were involved in corruption at the company,” reporters note. According to them, the prosecutors set aside these measures as the negotiations progressed, so as not to derail the deal with Odebrecht, which was one of the largest business groups in the country and went into crisis when it was hit by the Lava Jato. “

In June 2016, Deltan and two other attorneys suggested to colleagues that the company be prevented from taking the fines. “Executives must afford it, in my opinion,” he said on Telegram. He proposed that the company be punished for terminating the deal if it paid executive penalties. However, the second option prevailed: the company paid the fines of its awarded whistle blowers.

Brazil: Senate goes to STF against Lava Jato and can isolate Barroso in supreme court

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Senate goes to STF against Lava Jato and can isolate Barroso in supreme court

Senate President David Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) complained that the Lava Jato operation, authorized by Supreme Minister Luis Roberto Barroso, did not have the consent of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), recalls journalist Esmael Morais . Barroso is friends with prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, who is “hurt” by Vaza Jato reports

Senate President, Senator David Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), granted interview.
Senate President, Senator David Alcolumbre (DEM-AP), gives interview. \ R \ rPhoto: Marcos Brandà £  £ o / Federal Senate (Photo: Marcos Brandão / Federal Senate)

By Esmael Morais, in his blog – In Brasilia, k-juice will boil even more. Senate President David Alcolumbre (DEM-AP) has announced that he will go to the Supreme Court (STF) against intimidation of the House.

Alcolumbre referred to the action of the Federal Police, this Thursday (19), in the office of Senator Fernando Bezerra Coelho (MDB-PE), leader of the government.

The Senate president complained that the Lava Jato operation, authorized by Supreme Minister Luis Roberto Barroso, did not have the consent of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

Barroso is friends with prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, the task force’s coordinator in Curitiba, who is “hurt” by Vaza Jato reports.

Davi Alcolumbre sees the PF operation as ‘serious’ and ‘drastic interference’ because the reasons alleged in the court ruling would be between 2012 and 2014, so there is no justification for the search and seizure that took place today in the Senate. That is, by the time lapse, it would have given Bezerra Coelho time to conceal supposed evidence more than a million times.

“The determination of search and seizure also has the potential to reach the executive branch, as it was also held in the parliamentary cabinet for the Senate Federal Government Leader,” says a statement issued by the Senate president.

Senator Bezerra, in turn, said he was the victim of political persecution of Minister Sergio Moro. According to the government leader, his position in defense of fundamental guarantees bothers the former Lava Jato judge.

Did Trump Try to Extort the President of Ukraine Into Investigating Joe Biden’s Son?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORKER)

 

Did Trump Try to Extort the President of Ukraine Into Investigating Joe Biden?

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Trump development to trump them all—or most of them. On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that a complaint from an anonymous intelligence whistle-blower, which has been the subject of a bitter oversight dispute between the Trump Administration and Congress, centers on a phone call that Trump had on July 25th, with Ukraine’s recently elected President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Many details about this story remain murky, but the implication seems to be that the whistle-blower is alleging that Trump promised to release two hundred and fifty million dollars in stalled aid for Ukraine if Zelensky would launch a corruption investigation into matters involving Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

You might think that sounds too outrageous to be plausible: a President who spent just under two years being investigated for possibly colluding with Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election putting the squeeze on another foreign country to interfere in the 2020 race. But hang on a minute. Shortly after the Post’s story dropped, Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has for months been claiming (without any real evidence) that Joe Biden bribed Ukrainian officials to drop a corruption investigation involving his son, went on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show and said, “It is perfectly appropriate for a President to say to a leader of a foreign country, ‘Investigate this bribe, that was paid by a former Vice-President, that our media in America is covering up.’ ”

For the past few days, reporters have been trying to get more details about the whistle-blower’s complaint. Joseph Maguire, the acting director of National Intelligence, has ordered the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community not to pass it along to Congress, a decision that he says was based on legal advice from the Justice Department. The Administration’s refusal to cooperate has caused a mighty row with the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, Democrat of California. Of course, the Trump Administration and the Democrats on Capitol Hill are involved in many disputes arising from congressional investigations into Trump and his associates. But until now none of them have involved the suggestion that Trump may have exerted pressure on a foreign leader to take actions to help his 2020 reelection bid, and may have even pledged something in return.

Even before this latest revelation, however, Trump’s conversation with Zelensky, a former comedian and screenwriter who was elected President of Ukraine in April, had attracted the attention of congressional Democrats, who were investigating what Trump and Giuliani were up to on the Kiev front. In August, reports emerged that Trump was threatening to withhold two hundred and fifty million dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine, which was supposed to be used to deter Russian aggression in the east of the country.

On September 9th, the leaders of three Democrat-controlled House committees demanded the transcript and a list of participants on the July 25th call. The Democrats said that Giuliani and Trump “appear to have acted outside legitimate law enforcement and diplomatic channels.” The Democrats also referred to a Ukrainian government readout from the July 25th call, which said that Trump told Zelensky he was “convinced the new Ukrainian government will be able to quickly improve [the] image of Ukraine, [and] complete [the] investigation of corruption cases, which inhibited the interaction between Ukraine and the USA.”

At that stage, there was no suggestion of a link to a whistle-blower. But on Wednesday night the Washington Post reported that the whistle-blower’s complaint “involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.” The report went on, “Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a ‘promise’ that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials.”

This Post story led to a lot of speculation about the identity of the foreign leader. The whistle-blower filed the complaint on August 12th. During the previous few weeks, Trump had spoken with a number of foreign leaders in addition to Zelensky. They included Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Holland’s Mark Rutte, and the Emir of Kuwait. The fact that Putin’s name was on the list produced a lot of excitement online, but no new details.

On Wednesday morning Trump weighed in, writing on Twitter, “Another Fake News story out there – It never ends! Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. No problem!” In a second tweet, he went on, writing, “Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!”

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The tweets didn’t solve the mystery of who the foreign leader was. But at about 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, the Post appeared to clarify the matter, posting its story under the headline “Whistleblower complaint about Trump involves Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter.” The report didn’t say explicitly that the complaint concerned the call between Trump and Zelensky, but it did note that the call took place just two and a half weeks before the whistle-blower made the filing.

As the rest of the media was trying to digest this news, Giuliani appeared on CNN and, almost immediately, went off a cliff. In addition to claiming that it would be fine for Trump to pressure Zelensky and his government to investigate Biden, he admitted that he’d already done so himself, and also managed to contradict his story in the process. The first time that Cuomo questioned Giuliani about whether he had asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, he replied, “No, actually, I didn’t.” But then he went on to say he had inquired how a certain Ukrainian official had ended the corruption investigation that allegedly involved Hunter Biden. “So you did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?” Cuomo asked. “Of course I did,” Giuliani replied.

Although he defended Trump’s right to pressure the Ukrainian President to investigate Biden, Giuliani also insisted that he didn’t know anything about the conversation between Trump and Zelensky. Crazy as all of this undoubtedly was, the former New York mayor’s appearance was something of a sideshow. The crux of the matter is his client, and whether he attempted, effectively, to extort Zelensky into trying to find dirt on Biden. As they say in the news business, this story is still developing. The next step, surely, is for Congress to get access to the whistle-blower’s complaint. Only then will we find out what it amounts to.

India: ‘We put fear of law into hearts of criminals’: UP DGP OP Singh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

‘We put fear of law into hearts of criminals’: UP DGP OP Singh

UP Police took stock of the situation and decided to mount a very aggressive posture towards criminals and gangs.

LUCKNOW Updated: Sep 17, 2019 05:47 IST

Shishir Gupta
DGP Singh single-handedly commands the largest police force in the world.
DGP Singh single-handedly commands the largest police force in the world. (HT FILE)

For a state police chief, who was once blooded in the badlands of western UP, 59-year-old-O P Singh is totally opposed to medieval instant justice and is a stickler for discipline. As he single-handedly commands the largest police force in the world, DGP Singh spoke to Shishir Gupta in Lucknow on various aspects of policing. Excerpts:

How is the law and order situation right now in comparison to the past years ?

When I took over two years ago, I found that there was systematic destruction of police institutions in the past decade. Maintenance of law and order had gone haywire, criminal activities were on the rise. The people of the state were on tenterhooks with huge questions over women safety. The rate of cyber crime was up. We took stock of the situation and decided to mount a very aggressive posture towards criminals and gangs. We put the fear of law into the hearts of gangs and criminals in each district by not only raiding their houses but engaging them upfront. In the past two years, we have rounded up not less than 10,000 criminals and, using Section 14 (1) of the Gangster Act, we seized property worth Rs 197 crore of these mafia dons. This has never been done in the past. We neutralised no less than 96 gangsters who were carrying rewards on their heads. This gave a strong message to the public at large that UP Police meant business. In fact, thanks to the heat mounted by us, a number of criminals surrendered in court.

So do the numbers show that the crime in the heinous category has gone down?

Yes, yes. It is has certainly gone down. If you look at the statistics, you will see a decline of 25% in dacoity, in robbery there is a decline of 30% in the loot category, and in murders there is a decline of 12%. Secondly, we have been successful in conducting religious processions in peace — be it Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Dusshera and Muharram. Besides this, we conducted the Kumbh Mela very successfully as well as the 2019 General Elections.

Have you been able to control indiscipline and corruption in your force?

Transforming the behaviour of policemen is a big challenge, particularly when the force is three lakh strong. I am sorry to say incidents do happen that dent the image of the police, as in Siddharthnagar (where a man was thrashed by local police on September 13). I have made it very clear to my force that if the policemen are going to be rewarded for good work, their unprofessional conduct will also be punished.

Do you have any numbers to say that you have punished police officials for unprofessional conduct?

I have punished not less than 400 officers and men. They were dismissed from service after due process of law. This was also the case in Siddharthnagar.

So what happened in Siddharthnagar and what did you do about it?

In Siddharthnagar, the police got information that there was a minor scuffle between two persons of the same community. The police reached the spot and, according to the local thana, the chap who was caught was drunk. My sub-inspector and constable beat him mercilessly in front of almost 50-60 people, but the worst part is that the five-year-old daughter of the victim was also standing there. I feel this act was inhuman. When I saw the video being circulated on the social media, I ordered suspension of the errant personnel and registration of a case against them. The SHO of the area has also been suspended.

Under what provision of law have you booked the errant sub-inspector?

The two police personnel have been charged with attempt to murder. Nobody will be spared. Police are not above the law. Discipline must be maintained.

Why does UP police act like the imperial force of the past? Is it lack of training, discipline or failure of command and control?

You are partly right as there has been a lot of indiscipline in the past. In the past decade, the UP police have been known for very wrong reasons. But in the past two years, there has been a massive change through expert-led workshops and training programmes. In fact, a third party assessment-cum-audit found that there has been a 40% improvement in police behaviour in the past two years. I believe this assessment as the Siddharthnagar incident cannot tarnish the entire force.

How has been your action on crime against women?

We have taken very strong measures. First, we have created anti-romeo squads, which are still functioning very effectively. More than 37 lakh people have been given warnings by these anti-romeo squads. They intensively patrol all vulnerable routes. We are also going for safe city projects in future. Strength of UP 100 vehicles has been increased, their routes have been re-designated. The response time of UP 100 has been reduced from 23 to 11 minutes.

Are you using technology in this?

Yes and that too in a big way. UP 100 has been integrated with fire services, ambulances, 1090 (women safety) and railways. So if you are travelling in a railway compartment and feeling uncomfortable, you just have to tweet or call UP 100 for action to be taken.

After your action in Siddharthnagar, many of your peers will feel that this will lower the morale of forces. Will you continue to punish errant policemen?

Absolutely. As the police chief, I am responsible for security of 23 crore people in the state. Nobody, including the police, will be allowed to take the law into their hands. Inhuman acts on the part of policemen will be punished.

A crime which is localised to perhaps one square kilometres is now projected 1000 times all over the place. How do you handle this public outrage generated by social media?

In the past two years, we have been using the social media platforms in a big way. We can call ourselves pioneers in the country and have bagged five to six awards for this innovative work. Apart from the Karnataka police, we are the only police force licensed to use Twitter Sewa. Our social media platform is much more interactive and through this we have been able to control crime and redress grievances. We have busted fake news. We have a social media cell in all of our 75 districts. I myself monitor the social media platform at the headquarters with the help of a number of senior officers.

Fake news sometime leads to communal violence, arson and mayhem. Are you able to make these platforms accountable, considering majority of them have servers outside the country?

In some instances, we have taken action by registering a case as also informing the platforms on whose servers the fake news is being distributed. We have also arrested persons propagating fake news. We verify videos posted on social media through non-political digital volunteers, 250 of whom have access to each police station. We immediately repudiate fake news. We have also appointed coordinators in foreign countries too. For instance, we have a lady in the United Kingdom who has been acting as a coordinator for the NRI (Non-Resident Indian ) handle used to sort out problems faced by their kith and kin back home.

UP was notorious for communal riots. Have you been able to control it?

Absolutely. For the last two years, there has been not even a single case of communal riots. Whenever we have a problem of a communal nature, we immediately attend with minimum response time.

How have you been able to control terror and religious radicalisation in the state?

The state was affected by terror activities from 2005 to 2010 and maybe as late as 2016, when we killed a terrorist in an encounter. We have contained terror due to strong police emphasis on this aspect through actionable intelligence as well as the support of central agencies. In the past 18 months, we have had good catches too. Two persons were arrested recently from Deoband on the allegation of their links with the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed/ Indian Mujahideen terror group.

We also busted a case of terror funding. So far as radicalisation is concerned, we have been acting in a subtle manner. For example, we caught a youth from Rampur, who was about to leave for Jammu and Kashmir six months ago to participate in terror activities. I myself interrogated the radicalised youth.

What are your police modernisation plans?

We will have one forensic science lab in each of our 18 police ranges. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has already cleared the proposal for a forensic science and police university in Lucknow. So far as cyber crime is concerned, we have two police stations—Lucknow and Noida—dedicated to this new age crime and have requested the government for six such dedicated stations. We intend to have a cyber crime police station in all the eight zones. For the first time, we have appointed an IG exclusively looking after cyber crime with a state-of-the-art laboratory in Lucknow. Very soon, we will have a cyber hub in Noida through the PPP model on the lines of Karnataka.

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 03:52 IST

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