Satish Kumar Sharma, a 1983-batch Punjab-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, has emerged as a frontrunner for the post of director general of police (DGP) of Himachal Pradesh. The current DGP, B Kamal Kumar, will retire next month.
Sharma (57) has held several significant posts, including the senior superintendent of police (SSP), Patiala, and the inspector general (IG, zonal), Patiala. He is perceived to be close to former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Sharma will retire in September 2015.
Presently, he is additional director general of police (ADGP), human resource development and training, Punjab. In case the Himachal government finalises his name, it will have to seek permission from the union home minister and the central government's department of personnel and training. Clearance would also have to be sought from the Punjab government.
Having limited options, the state government had earlier contemplated appointing 1985-batch IPS officer Sanjay Kumar as the successor to B Kamal Kumar, who took over after ID Bhandari was removed abruptly in January over the phone tapping controversy. Both B Kamal Kumar and Bhandari are 1982-batch IPS officers.
Currently posted in the Central Railways in Patna, Sanjay Kumar is returning to the state on July 21. In March, the government had written to the department of personnel and training (DoPT), government of India, seeking his repatriation.
Three seniormost IPS officers Sanjay Kumar, Somesh Goyal (1984 batch) and SR Mardi (1986) do not fulfil the mandatory condition of 30 years' service for being elevated to the DGP's post.
Goyal will complete 30 years' service in 2014, while Sanjay Kumar will be eligible in 2015. Goyal is also on central deputation, while Mardi heads the crime investigation department of the police.
The registration of an FIR on June 26 in the phone tapping case has marred Bhandari's chances of regaining the top cop's post.