The NDA government on Friday sent a senior NIA officer Sanjiv Kumar Singh packing, reversing its June order to extend his stay by another year.
It is not clear why the government changed its mind. But the order issued on the PMO’s instructions left no doubts on how the NDA government had moved at lightning speed to shunt the NIA’s inspector general.
Singh is a 1987-batch police officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre.
When it extended Singh’s tenure in June, the ACC had taken nearly two months to make an exception for Singh.
Home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi had made a special request for Singh, who apart from leading probes into terror cases such as the Pathankot attack, had also become the face of the agency. He doubled as its spokesperson.
The IPS officer had already completed seven years in the central government, the maximum permissible stint for an officer of his rank.
Friday’s order reversing the ACC decision, in contrast, was issued in a hurry.
The order said the competent authority in the ACC – the PM – had approved the order to supersede the ACC decision a day earlier. The only other member of the ACC apart from the PM, is home minister Rajnath Singh.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs may relieve Shri Sanjeev Kumar Singh, IPS (MP:S7) from the post immediately,” Friday evening’s order said, pointing that the approval to let Singh continue beyond 5 July in the NIA stood withdrawn. This could complicate things for Singh as it implies that his stay in the NIA beyond this date was without approval.
Incidentally, Singh was one of few officers deputed to the NIA soon after it was established in 2009. He handled the probe in the seven cases of right-wing extremists probed by the NIA till the NDA government assumed charge in May 2014. Singh later supervised probe in the Burdwan case and the Pathankot airbase attack case.