Top Punjab Police officers on Thursday dismissed as baseless the allegation by Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira about Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh "clandestinely meeting" director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini on February 17.
On February 25, Khaira had shot off a complaint to chief election commissioner (CEC) VS Sampath - which was released to the media -- urging the CEC to seek an explanation from the CEO "for having secretly met the Punjab DGP at his residence on February 17 between 4pm and 6pm".
Putting a question mark over Khaira's contention, additional director general of police (administration) MK Tiwari said, "February 17 was Monday and every officer was in uniform. From 3.30pm to 6.45pm I, along with a number of senior police officers, held a series of meetings with the DGP at his camp office."
Speaking to Hindustan Times, the ADGP said, "No such meeting between the DGP and the CEO took place from 3.30pm to 6.45pm. You can quote me and I will give this statement, if required, before any appropriate authority to ensure that truth prevails."
Though Khaira's animosity with the DGP is well known, the Congress leader's allegation was not brushed aside in view of the Punjab Congress' formal complaint with the CEC, seeking the transfer of the DGP during the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission had sought a detailed report from the home department of Punjab, on the basis of the Congress's complaint.
The contention of Khaira was that the CEO submitted the Punjab government's report regarding Saini to the election commission only after February 17 "secret meeting" with the DGP.
"I wish to bring to your notice that CEO VK Singh clandestinely visited the official residence of the DGP on February 17 from 4pm to 6pm. It was after this secret meeting that the CEO had submitted the report of the home department to the election commission on February 20," reads Khaira's letter to the CEC, seeking "detailed explanation" from the CEO.
According to police officers, the meeting which the DGP was chairing pertained to preparations about the February 23 Jagraon rally of BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and other administrative matters.
Jagraon SSP Ashish Chaudhary also attended the meeting, apart from Inspector General (administration) Arpit Shukla, while ADGP (law and order) Dinkar Gupta was among other officers present at the marathon meeting.
The Jagraon SSP, when contacted, said, "Indeed, I was present at the meeting. I had reached the DGP residence around 1.30pm. Other senior officers were present at the meeting that must have continued till 7pm."
The CEO, who is on leave, was not available for comment.
When HT reached Khaira to know if he would like to share "any evidence" to prove his allegation, he said, "Let the CEO first deny…They have not denied…When you don't deny, it is presumed to be true…Let them first deny, and only then I will make the next move."