The Supreme Court reinstated TP Senkumar as the Kerala police chief on Monday in a major embarassment to the Pinarayi government, which had allegedly punished the officer for booking several ruling CPM leader in a murder case.
The government had replaced Senkumar with former NIA official Loknath Behra, shortly after it came to power last year.
The top court, however, said Senkumar was transferred “arbitrarily” and set aside an order of the Kerala high court. The HC had upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which had not found fault with the state government’s decision.
“We direct reinstatement of DGP TP Senkumar,” a bench of justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
The Kerala government had defended its decision, saying Senkumar had protected errant police officials in the 2016 Puttingal temple fire tragedy in which 110 people were killed. More than 300 people were also injured in the incident when a fireworks display went awry at the temple in Kollam district.
The government had also cited alleged his “mishandling” of the Jisha murder case. The law student was murdered in her home in Kochi last year.
Challenging his transfer in court, Senkumar said he was punished for carrying out an impartial probe into the 2012 murder of Marixist renegade TP Chandrasekharan in which police booked many CPI (M) leaders.
Several CPI (M) leaders are in jail in the case.
Senkumar will assume his post with immediate effect and he will be there in service till June 30.
Reacting to the judgment, Senkumar said it was a good news for the police force. “This will help many officers who face similar problem,” he said.
It is a major setback for chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan who had criticised Senkumar on several occasions. He even accused the police officer of canvassing for a plum post in Delhi.
(With agency inputs)