I completed my tour guide training in December and my license was printed in January. Now the Ministry of Tourism office in Delhi asked me to bring a police verification certificate from my local police station. The Police verification certificate certifies that there are no legal cases against me. Actually they had provided a proforma also and I was supposed to just go to the local police station and get it stamped. I went to my local police station with that proforma but the police officer did not want to stamp that document. He asked me to go to the DIG office and apply for a character certificate there.
By mistake I went to the some other police office instead of DIG office. I went there and told a police officer about the certificate I wanted and then he asked me why I wanted this certificate and I explained that I had completed tour guide training and now I need a police verification certificate in order to get my license. After hearing that I was a tour guide, this policeman told me “Oh, so your profession is to make tourists fool and fuck them”. I was really angry to hear this, I said my profession is a tour guide and then he said that its similar.
After asking a few other questions he gave me right address of the DIG office. I went to the DIG office and I was really surprised to see the condition of the office. The office was so dusty and dark. I met the officer who issues the police verification certificate and he gave me a form and asked me a fill it and submit it along with other documents. I was told by my local police station to take care of this officer which means to give him some money, so I gave him Rs. 100. After taking this bribe he told me to contact my local police station after two days.
He said that he will send my application to my local police station and they will verify my residence and other documents and then they will send their report back to the DIG office. I contacted my local police station and my application had arrived at the local police station. The officer at the local police station asked me to bring all of my documents. After seeing all of my documents, he said that it was not enough. He needed a domicile certificate issued by the court which I did not have and I knew that it would have taken me over 15 days just to get this certificate.
I had given him a xerox of my passport also which was enough but he said that a domicile was necessary. Fortunately there was an advocate sitting in the office who favored me and said to the police officer that a passport is also equivalent to a domicile certificate. Finally this police officer agreed to accept my documents after the advocate’s interference. He asked me to wait for a few minutes. After that advocate was gone he again started looking at my documents and after reviewing them for a few minutes he told me that they would send someone at my place within the next week or so and after verifying my residence they will send their report to the DIG office.
I knew why he needed one week of time. I asked him if I was supposed to give him something and then he said that such works are not done without paying. I was told by a few of my friends that I should give Rs. 500 to the local police station so I gave him Rs. 500 but this police officer started saying that Rs.500 was not enough as there were 5-6 people to take a share in that money. Finally we agreed on Rs. 700. After taking this money something happened that I had never ever hoped for. This police officer taught me the right way to bribe.
He taught me that I should always take care of who is sitting in the office and try to bribe when there are not many people around and never ever tell this to any other officer working in the same office, this was very valuable information. Actually I had told him about that officer in the DIG office who took Rs. 100 from me and this local police station officer said that I should not tell any other officer whom I have already bribed. Anyways, after taking bribe of Rs. 700 he said that my documents would be forwarded to the DIG office by the same evening.
I went to the DIG office and then the DIG office said that they would send my documents to the LIU (Local Intelligence Unit) now. My documents arrived at the LIU office after a few days and when I went there, the same thing happened which had happened with me at the local police station. First of all they said that they would send someone to my home to verify my residence but when I asked them how much I was supposed to give, the officer asked for Rs. 500 and said that nobody would come to my place anymore and my documents will be forwarded to the DIG office by the same evening.
But something really funny happened while I was sitting in the LIU office. Actually I got a call on my mobile about my guest house inquiry and this officer heard me talking. After the phone call he asked me if I run a guest house also and I told him about my guest house and he asked me I had a restaurant in my guest house or not and I said no. And he asked me where do my guests eat and I told him that usually they go out and after hearing it, he seemed kind of sad and told me he would have loved coming to my place for a meal if I had a restaurant.
I told him that I lived with my family and we cook our own food and he was also invited if he wanted to have dinner with us and he said no, he was looking for some restaurant cooked hot chicken with whiskey. I obviously said ‘No’ to him but I was really surprised how someone could be that stupid. Anyways, after bribing him, I left the office and came back home. The LIU office had told me that they would forward my documents to the CO office. The CO office is a kind of regional police office. I think there are 5 or 6 CO offices in the whole Benares district.
I contacted the CO office after two days and this office was also nothing better than the other offices I had been to. I met an officer at the CO office and he asked why I had applied for my character certificate. I explained my purpose to him and then he said that they had already checked my day time character but they did not know anything about my night time character. He said that- “Now we know about your day time character but we do not know about how many woman and prostitutes do you sleep with in the night or how many bars do you visit every night”.
He said the same thing to other officers also sitting in the office that they had checked my day time character but did not know anything about my night time character and after hearing it, all of them were laughing. One of them said they should check my night time character also. I was seriously shocked and did not know what to tell him. I could not believe that a police officer could talk in such manner. Anyways, I asked him check my night time character also and then he asked me to contact them after a week or so. I again knew why he needed to check my night time character and why he was asking for one more week.
I immediately asked him about the bribe and he also the said same thing which the officer at the local police station had told me that such works are not done without money. Anyways, I asked him how much and he said just give anything. I gave him Rs. 200 and asked when they would check my night time character and they said that there was no need to check the night time character and my documents would be forwarded to the SP ( Superintendent of Police) office by the same evening. I contacted the SP office the next day and the officers said that they will present me before the SP tomorrow.
I went to the SP office next day and I waited for the SP for an hour and finally I was presented before him. He just looked at my face and asked me why I needed a character certificate and that’s all. I hardly got to talk with him a few seconds but just for this I had to wait for a hour at his office. I requested that he forward my documents as soon as possible and he was very nice with it. He immediately asked his PA to bring my documents, signed and stamped them and said that my work was done. After meeting him I contacted his PA and asked if I needed give something to him also and he asked me to come the next day and see if my work was done.
He did not want to take the bribe until my documents were forwarded to the next office. I went to the office again next day he said that he could not do it. I again contacted him after two days and this time my documents were already forwarded back to DIG office. Now I was sure that I was going to get my character certificate because all the formalities were done and I had bribed all the offices. When I went to the DIG office, the officer there said that they could not issue my character certificate until some other big police office stamped my documents. He also asked me to contact him after a week.
I again knew why he needed one more week. I gave him Rs. 300 and requested that he do my work faster and then he gave me the address of that other police officer whose office was also in the same building premises. He asked me to go this office and wait until the officer came and then return to inform him when this officer arrived. I went to this office, waited for hours in the terrible heat and finally this officer showed up after three hours. I informed the officer at the DIG office and then this officer brought my documents to this big police officer, got them signed and stamped and then gave me my character certificate.
This character certificate was nothing special but a really small piece of paper saying that there was no legal case against me. It seemed like they had not printed new character certificates for the year 2010 because the year mentioned on the paper was 2009 and the officer had to correct it by pen. I still think about all the craziness and corruption I had face, the way they mistreated me saying that my profession is to make fools of tourists and fuck them, one officer said they did not know about how many women and prostitutes I sleep with…
I had to spend Rs. 1700 just to get this character certificate which should be given free of cost. I had to wait for almost a month and go to all those crazy police offices several times. Just to get this small piece of paper I had to go to DIG office>local police station>DIG office>LIU>CO office>SP office>DIG office>that big police officer’s office>DIG office. I got my character certificate and later I presented it to the Ministry of Tourism office in Delhi and got my license but when I think of all the corruption and those people working at police offices and those officers who approved my documents and my character certificate, it makes me feel like my character certificate was issued my the most characterless people on the planet.