On a day India’s first woman President took charge, the first woman to enter the Indian Police Service over three decades ago lost in the race for the post of Delhi Police Commissioner.
Yudhbir Singh Dadwal will take over as Delhi’s next police commissioner on Thursday. Kiran Bedi, senior to Dadwal by two years, said it wasn’t just an individual loss but a loss for the Capital. In a series of interviews, Bedi lashed out at the decision and declared she would look at all her options.
"Merit has been compromised in this appointment… This decision will send out a very wrong message for women," she told a private channel, dubbing the government’s decision "unfair".
Bedi said the Prime Minister had been unfair to her. "It is complete injustice to me, and PM Manmohan Singh has let me down. I am completely disappointed with the government and the bureaucracy," she told IANS. "I am a person who has always stood up against injustice and I will continue to do so."
"Dadwal has some time with him. I am left with two years while he has four-five years. I could have finished my tenure and he could have taken over then. I don’t understand this impatience," she said. "Some people have decided to be unfair, it is as simple as that," she said. "To the best of my knowledge, I have an outstanding record and seniority. Both seniority and record have been given a go-by...I did not indulge in lobbying. I did not look for patronage or relationships," she said.
A home ministry official, however, insisted it was the government’s prerogative to make key appointments. There are judicial pronouncements holding that an officer had the right to be considered for a post, not to be appointed. "This remains the prerogative of the government on the basis of an officer’s suitability and capability," he said.
The police commissioner’s post is of the rank of the director-general of police; she holds this rank at the Bureau of Police Research and Development. Her chances were believed to have brightened after the government appointed Tejendra Khanna as Delhi’s Lt Governor this year.
Bedi had worked with Khanna at Raj Niwas in his first stint as L-G; there were expectations that he would push her case. But the Centre clearly wasn’t convinced that the Magsaysay award-winner was cut out for the crucial post.
Officials said Dadwal, who is from the the 1974 batch, had the advantage of having served in key positions. He had served in New Delhi and East District, the Cabinet Secretariat, Special Branch, Operations. He was IG, Chandigarh and Arunachal Pradesh. He was Special Commissioner, Intelligence, Administration. He was awarded the President’s police medal for meritorious and distinguished service. It was under him that Chandigarh Police cracked the Beant Singh assassination case.