Geetha Johri, a police officer who courted controversy for her role in investigating the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, was on Tuesday appointed Gujarat’s director general of police (DGP), the first woman to head the force.
She was charge-sheeted by the CBI but a court later discharged her as the agency failed to the get mandatory prosecution sanction from the state government.
Johri replaced PP Pandey, who resigned as the DGP after his appointment was challenged by former top cop Julio Riberio in the Supreme Court. While the state government termed it as an example of woman empowerment, the appointment received flak from a section of activists.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan tweeted:
Geeta Johri was ordered by SC to be removed from Guj genocide SIT, because of serious charges. Seems Guj doesn't want upright officer as DGP https://t.co/a12pkYKReq— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) April 4, 2017
Chief minister Vijay Rupani’s office, tweeted:
Govt sets glaring example of women empowerment by appointing Smt.Geetha Johri as new DGP of Gujarat, the first woman to head police force— Vijay Rupani Office (@CMO_Gujarat) April 4, 2017
Johri, a 1982 batch IPS officer, is slated to retire on November 30 this year, giving her a short tenure of less than eight months unless the government decides on an extension.
“I will assume office immediately. Being the first woman DGP of the state, my priority will be to address the problems of women. They can come to me anytime and I will try my best to solve their problems,” Johri was quoted as saying by PTI.
Johri first shot into the limelight in the 90s when she raided the den of slain underworld don Abdul Latif in the highly sensitive Dariyapur area of Ahmedabad and managed to arrest one his key aides.
However, she came under a cloud her during stints with the special investigation team (SIT) that probed the post-Godhra riots and as investigating officer in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases.
The top court in 2010 asked Johri to dissociate herself from the SIT following allegations against her.
Johri was also rapped by the top court when she was heading the probe into the encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and his close aide Tulsiram Prajapati.
Johri had filed the first investigation report in the apex court on the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and sudden disappearance of his wife Kausar Bi which eventually led to the arrest of three then serving IPS officers, including DG Vanzara. But later the top court expressed unhappiness over the manner of the probe conducted under Johri.
The probes were later handed over the CBI and agency alleged that Johri delayed investigations into the Prajapati case and destroyed some case records. But charges against her court not be put to trial as the Gujarat government didn’t give sanction to prosecute her.