According to Hemant Nagrale, Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner, has accepted the fact that the police department is not equipped enough to verify the identity of all individuals, who have rent property in the satellite city. Considering the infamous bank heist in Juinagar branch of Bank of Baroda, the police referred to the men who rented out the commercial property to the accused by saying that the documents they got of a person called Gena Bachchan Prasad were all bogus. He further added that it is a complex task for them to go and verify the identity of each tenant.
Nagrale further elaborated while talking to a leading newspaper daily, “We go and specifically check for passport verification, government jobs and when private companies come to us for background checks of employees, which is paid for by them. Otherwise, we just check the documents submitted to us along with the form.”
Whenever a property, commercial or otherwise, is rented out, a police verification is always done. A form requiring the details, including name, proof of identity and residence, photograph, and residential address is needed to be furnished by both the owner and the tenant.
The police conduct a thorough check on the background of the tenant and all the documents provided by him. Only then they sign and announce the property to be verified.
Although, the entire procedure of police verification raises several questions about its authenticity as it has several loopholes. According to advocate Pankaj Bandekar, “The police verification, in theory, is meant to ensure that if a criminal or terrorist is seeking tenancy, the police know and keep an eye. It also ensures the safety of the property owner, who can escape being allegations of complicity in a crime, in case a crime is committed, by saying that he had informed the police. However, the cops are often unfamiliar with the rules of the tenancy act. While a stamp duty of Rs 750 is minimum for tenancy, sometimes the police accept a stamp paper of Rs 100. They don’t even do spot checks, taking the written document as the final word, which generally leads to discrepancies.”
He clarifies further saying that, “It also isn’t completely their fault. Our police force is just ill-equipped and short-staffed to actually carry out such verifications when they get over 50 forms daily. The process needs to change because police verification is not bringing the accountability, that it should.”