The Captain Amarinder Singh government has revived the proposal for the controversial Punjab Control of Organised Crime Act (PCOCA) to rein in gangsters who have been giving tough time to Punjab Police.The proposal says under the bill, which is loosely based on the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA), all confessions of criminals booked under the Arms Act can be made before the rank of superintendent of police and are admissible in a court of law. Though the previous Akali-BJP government also proposed PCOCA, it was rejected by the cabinet in July last year and was sent to the state advocate general’s office for re-examination.The bill will also empower a DIG-rank or above officers to invoke PCOCA with a detailed note on why IPC is unable to handle the act of crime. While reviewing the police functioning on April 25, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said the state was mulling implementation of PCOCA. Source said the government may bring the proposal for discussion in the next cabinet meeting.When contacted, senior minister in the Punjab cabinet Brahm Mohindra confirmed that the government was mulling enactment of PCOCA. The proposal cites existing laws as weak and inadequate to set a deterrent to curb organized crime as well as seek conviction of criminals.The DGP, who is strongly rooting for the law claiming that it would create “fear of law” among those involved in organised crime. In the recent two meetings with the chief minister over police functioning, sources said, the DGP has raised the point of having a PCOCA-like law, especially to deal with gangsters. Crime figures reveal that of the 55 gangsters arrested by the police since 2012, none has been convicted. The DGP also claimed that of the 105 gangsters arrested between 1996 and 2016, only 10 were convicted. In most cases, witnesses turned hostile due to fear or a compromise was struck. Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala already have similar Act to deal with organised crime.
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