When cops were assigned errands | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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When cops were assigned errands

chandigarh Updated: Oct 21, 2012 11:09 IST
HT Correspondent
IG asthana

A job at the junior level of the police force holds little glamour.

But head constable Dilbag Singh had hardly expected that he would end up fetching milk every day, that too from Banur, 75 km from Chandigarh. His colleague head constable Kuldip Singh had to fetch cloth from Phagwara, 150 km from Chandigarh, and get them stitched by a tailor in Abohar, another 310 km away.

The errands were assigned by their boss -- inspector general of police Satish Kumar Asthana. The two head constables were among the 31 policemen Asthana had pressed into his "domestic service".

On Friday, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal suspended Asthana following a probe. "I will not tolerate such officials," said Badal, who also holds the home affairs and justice portfolio.

But before getting his comeuppance, the IG had led a cushy life for five years.

The PIL, which brought Asthana's domestic arrangements into attention of the high court, alleged that he had retained policemen for household chores and running errands during his deputation at Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Barnala and Patiala.

But of the 31 policemen, only five gathered the courage to speak up in court.

On October 11, Kuldip told the court Asthana had ordered him to accompany an Amritsar-based jeweller every time he went to Delhi. Kuldip would help him pass police checkposts and toll barriers. He refused to accompany the jeweller only after he became suspicious of his activities.

Head constables Kulwant Singh and Satpal Singh had to accompany an NRI friend of Asthana every time he came to India.

"This is not an isolated case. Many officers of the Punjab Police are used to this kind of lifestyle," said SK Nayar, president, Indian Citizen's Forum, northern range, who had filed the PIL.