The Punjab government has revoked the suspension of inspector general (IG) of police Gautam Cheema, eight months after action was taken against the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who was booked for allegedly abducting a proclaimed offender (PO) from police custody last year in August, said official sources.
Later, on September 2, the SAS Nagar police had also booked Cheema in a molestation case.
At the core of the controversy swirling around Cheema was his association with a conman, Davinder Gill, a clerk-turned-coloniser, who has been into jail in cases investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The SAS Nagar superintendent of police (detective) Gursharandeep Grewal said both the cases against Cheema were under investigation.
In the run-up to reinstate the senior police officer, the state government appointed a retired additional sessions judge as the investigating officer (IO) to further hold an inquiry against Cheema, who has also been served a chargesheet, Punjab government sources said.
The Punjab government had placed Cheema under suspension on September 13, 2014, after he went underground on August 30, the day the SAS Nagar police booked him for abducting a PO Sumedh Gulati from police custody.
The gross professional misconduct of Cheema, while being posted in the information technology and telecommunications (IT&T) wing of the Punjab Police at Chandigarh, was first reported in Hindustan Times ('Punjab IG kidnaps PO, frees him' on August 30).
After the IG went underground to avoid arrest, the alleged links of other senior Punjab police officers with master conman Davinder started surfacing. This had prompted Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to hold in-depth inquiry by the vigilance bureau into the role of IG Cheema and other IPS officers and their alleged involvement with Davinder, the master conman whom the CBI had also booked in May 2011 in a `1.5 crore bribery case.
In its damning report, the VB had pointed out that not only Cheema, but a section of other Punjab cadre IPS officers "have financial and personal relations" with Davinder Gill, the conman.
The VB had attributed the genesis of the dispute between Cheema and the conman to "failure of commitment" by conman Davinder and his partners in executing on ground the agreements entered by them in lieu of investments made by the officers, their relatives and friends in Davinder's real estate company.
"Foregoing discussion and reconstruction of events establishes financial and personal relations between the accused (IPS) officers and Davinder Gill and his partners," the exhaustive VB dossier - also reported first by HT -stated.
"Since the officers felt cheated, they got cases registered against Davinder and his partners in SAS Nagar district," the VB inquiry report stated.