Maharashtra government has decided to install CCTV cameras across 25 police stations in Mumbai. The state Home department has issued the directives following the Bombay High Court’s order to install such cameras in police station in “letter and spirit”. The High Court had given the orders following a case filed by Leonard Valdaris, whose son Agnelo Valdaris died in custody on April 18, 2014.
A Government Resolution issued by the Home department states that the High Court had earlier passed two orders dated August 13, 2014 and February 24, 2016 instructing that CCTV cameras be installed in police stations across the megapolis. The GR also cites another Supreme Court order of DK Basu Vs State of West Bengal and Others, of July 24, 2015, which requests the chief minister to order the installation of CCTV cameras at all police stations to prevent harassment by the police.
The GR states that the government has allocated Rs 2.75 crore for first phase of the project. It also states that in the first phase, CCTV cameras will be installed at Colaba, MRA Marg, VP Marg, DB Marg, Wadala, Nagpada, Worli, Kalachowkie, RAK Marg, Mahim, Kurla, Chembur, Nehru Nagar, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Vakola, BKC, Santa Cruz, Juhu, Powai, MIDC, Malad, Malwani, Dindoshi and Dahisar police stations. All camera footage is to be preserved for up to a year. Agnelo and three others were picked up by Wadala railway police on charges of robbery on April 15, 2014. For next three days they were allegedly stripped, tortured and even forced to have oral sex with each other.
On April 18, Valdaris died in custody while the others were released on bail on April 22. After his death, Wadala police claimed that Agnelo died while trying to escape from custody and was run over by a train. In October last year, the state had covered the megapolis with a network of 6,000 CCTV cameras in its ambitious Mumbai City Surveillance Project (MCSP).