Decoding crime for the aam aadmi

Rashmi Pratap Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2014 Published on March 23, 2014

Shahil S Dhall

Mumbai criminologist Snehil Dhall helps AAP tackle myriad grievances

The Aam Aadmi Party has some not-so- aam supporters working in Mumbai. Among lawyers, school teachers and RTI activists stands out Snehil S Dhall, a criminologist who has a knack for not only understanding the psychology of a criminal, but also suggesting the fastest way out for grievance redress.

A specialist in decoding organised crime, Dhall is part of AAP’s Maharashtra legal cell, which is flooded with complaints from citizens. From victims of domestic violence and slum rehabilitation schemes to harassed taxi and rickshaw drivers and those who have been duped by property dealers, the AAP office is overflowing with grievances.

Dhall’s understanding of crime and law comes in handy.

“He (Dhall) meets the citizens, understands the issue and figures out how we can help them. Where he feels we need to support the person, we immediately get into action, rope in our volunteers and approach the police or other authorities,” says Preeti Sharma Menon, Maharashtra Secretary for the AAP.

Since Dhall is familiar with law as well as police functioning, it helps the AAP speed up action in various cases.

Dhall studied in the UK and returned home a few years back to help his family, which was trapped in a dispute. “After staying back in India for a few months, I tried to locate the Victim Support Department (present in every Western country) but found nothing. I approached the State and Central governments and even the United Nations (India), but with no success. So I cancelled my plans to go back to the UK and settled in India,” he says.

Voluntary worker

Much like other party workers, Dhall is working on a voluntary basis for the AAP.

This means no fees for any work or consultation. “I am giving support to AAP as part of my social responsibility. It is an extension of what I do outside the party as well,” he says.

Dhall has set up a criminology firm in India, Crimeophobia, which is registered in the UK. Through this firm, he advices his clients, mostly victims of organised crime.

He evaluates documents pertaining to a case, finds a pattern in the crime committed and prepares a report based on that. “It is then up to the victim to submit it to the police or court or any government department or the media,” he says, refusing to give specific details citing sensitivity of cases.

That sums up Dhall’s way of operation — discreet and giving away very little information in response to most questions. For these very reasons, he doesn’t work with any fixed team. He teams up with specialists like environmentalists or doctors or engineers, as required.

It is people like him who can sift through voluminous documents to unearth a scam. For AAP, that is indeed good news.

Published on March 23, 2014
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