How police officer Shalini Chouhan, 24, went undercover to crack the Indore MGM Medical College ragging case
It took nearly three months for 24-year-old police officer Shalini Chouhan, a new joinee, to go undercover as a college fresher and crack a six-month-old ragging case at Indore's state-run Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College. This was the first operation for Shalini, who was tasked with the role as she was perfect to pose as college-going student.
Shalini, a commerce graduate, finetuned her role as a medical student, spent hours with college students, spotted the students who would berate the juniors for months and finally zeroed on 11 culprits. She gathered evidence against those 11 students and submitted it to her seniors.
The 11 students were served notices under CrPc Section 41A to appear before the police.
On December 8, 2022, nine out of the 11 students identified were arrested.
All the 11 students have also been suspended from the college and hostel for three months.
How Shalini Chouhan cracked the case: The ragging case at Indore's MGM Medical College had been troubling the Indore Police for quite some time. The investigating officers had earlier tried cracking the case by posing in their civvies inside the college, but the students were quick to identify them by their appearance and nothing conclusive came out of that operation.
It was then that the officer-in-charge Tehzib Qazi and SI Satyajeet Chouhan, who was leading the investigation, got Shalini to handle the operation. Operation MGM was also the first for Shalini.
Cop to medical student: In her jeans and a top and a bag full of medical books, Shalini was quick to step into the role. She would spend hours in the canteen, talk to people, easily made friends and most importantly, would keep an eye on the senior students whom her senior police officers had pointed out.
I used to spent five-six hours in the canteen every day, at intervals, so that it would seem like I am also working and not just hanging around there all day; and I talked to all kinds of people there.- Shalini Chouhan
"Slowly, we could single out the seniors who were ragging freshers," Shalini told the Times of India.
Shalini also said that she had to share things with the students which would ease them towards her.
She added that on many occasions, she had to fake names of the students at that very instant and she pretended like she knew everything.
This would make others share crucial information about the case with her.
How were the 11 culprits nabbed? Shalini would sit and observe the 11 suspected students. Their behaviour was rough and aggressive.
She found that there was a ragging 'division' where day scholars would rag junior day scholars and senior hostel inmates would rag hostellers.
"Even in the day scholar's group, there were many seniors who made juniors do objectionable things. They would drop the location of their flat and ask juniors to go there," said Chouhan.
"We matched the location screenshots, mentioned the complaints with geo-coordinates, and found the same [accused] students who were identified by our undercover investigators living in rented flats at the same locations. This corroborated the complaint," Chouhan added.
Investigating officer Qazi said that the accused students would pressure junior students to do obscene acts.
Of the 11 students who have been served notices, 9 are from Madhya Pradesh, one each from Bihar and West Bengal.
Qazi also said that they come from middle-class families of teachers, techies, well-to-do farmers. One student is also the son of a policeman.
All the 11 students were stunned when they were called to Sanyogitaganj police station and served notices.
The ragging case at Indore's MGM Medical College: It was on July 24, 2022 that a formal police complaint was filed when the first-year students of MGM Medical College accused the seniors (third-year students) of ragging, harassment and assault.
The students had filed a complaint on the Anti-Ragging Helpline of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
In the complaint, the students had said that the seniors would force them to perform obscene acts, including unnatural sex.
They were also asked to make derogatory remarks about their female classmates.
Juniors were asked to slap each other, and were beaten when they refused to do so. Their mobile phones were also kept away from them so that nothing could be recorded, the complaint read.
The UGC's anti-ragging committee had informed the MGMMC dean of the complaint, asking them to lodge an FIR.
After that, the MGMMC filed an FIR with the police for appropriate action.