The Capital could get a new top cop by next month as incumbent Bhim Sain Bassi, who has been in the middle of a long-running turf war between the Delhi government and Centre, is among contenders for the role of India’s chief information commissioner (CIC).
Sources say Bassi and nearly 300 others are in the race for the post which is expected to fall vacant on December 2 with the retirement of senior bureaucrat Vijai Sharma who took the job this year following a war of words between the central government and Congress. The opposition party had accused the Narendra Modi administration of undermining the position by keeping it vacant for months.
Bassi’s tenure as Delhi’s police chief has witnessed a bitter tussle between the AAP government and Centre for jurisdiction over the police department which reports to the union home ministry, with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal frequently blaming law and order concerns on the prevailing situation.
With Bassi superannuating by February 2016 after a two-and-a-half-year stint, he could take voluntarily retirement if picked as the next chief information commissioner. A panel is likely to announce the name on December 15.
Sources say with Bassi’s fairly smooth run that did not see many law and order complications and the department solving most cases, there is speculation that the central government will give him an agreeable “post-retirement job”.
The race for Delhi’s police chief has also begun with 1979-batch IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma emerging as the frontrunner. Verma is presently the director general of prisons and has served as director general of police in Mizoram and Puducherry.
Two other contenders are special commissioners of police Deepak Mishra and Dharmendra Kumar, both five batches junior to Verma.
Mishra has been working as the operational head of Delhi police, second only to Bassi, for the last four years while Kumar who returned to the city a few months ago has served as the police chief of Mizoram.
Police sources said the central home ministry is already looking at the names of probables. If Verma takes the job, he will retire in July 2017 while Kumar and Mishra are due to retire in September and November 2018, respectively.
“This time it is a bit tricky because the government will have to choose between seniority and tenure,” said an officer. “In the past, the senior-most officer has always been chosen to lead Delhi police.”