Punjab deputy chief minister on Friday suspended inspector general of police (IGP) Satish Kumar Asthana for using 31 police personnel as "servants".
"I have ordered Asthana's suspension after learning that he was misusing his position and subordinates. I will not tolerate such officials," said Sukhbir, who also holds the home affairs and justice portfolio.
It was brought to the notice of the Punjab vigilance bureau (VB) that Asthana, who was posted in the VB till he was attached to the Punjab Police headquarters two days ago, was using unauthorised manpower.
A preliminary inquiry was conducted by additional director general of police (ADGP, security) Dinkar Gupta. As per the probe findings, Gupta said strict instructions had been issued that no officer would have manpower for security duties in excess of the number stipulated by the norms.
However, in wilful disobedience of these orders, Asthana took unauthorised police and Home Guards' personnel without the sanction of the competent authority.
The action against the IGP follows a public interest litigation (PIL), which came up for hearing in the Punjab and Haryana high court on October 11. According to the PIL, the IGP was using 31 police constables and head constables as "servants".
The petition, filed by Panchkula resident SK Nayyar, had come up before the division bench comprising chief justice AK Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain.
Taking a serious note of the petition, the bench had issued notices to Asthana and the Punjab government to file their replies on October 12. After the director general of police (DGP) sought time to file a detailed reply, the next date of hearing was fixed for November 2.
The petitioner had alleged that Asthana had retained police personnel ever since he was deputed as senior superintendent of police at Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Barnala and Patiala and also the deputy inspector general of police (DIG) of Patiala range.
Meanwhile, Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini said in a press release, "The unauthorised manpower was misused for personal work. There is sufficient reason to show that the manpower was unauthorisedly given to private persons to perform duties as PSOs (personal security officers). Disciplinary proceedings for a major penalty have been instituted against the officer. The inquiry officer shall be a senior IAS officer, to be nominated on the recommendation of the chief secretary to the state government. The disciplinary proceedings shall be conducted on a day-to day basis and completed at the earliest in a period not exceeding two months."
The release added that appropriate departmental action would be taken against those units which had provided unauthorised manpower to Asthana.