Is Bihar’s steel frame heading for a showdown with its police force? Two incidents involving the arrest of IAS officers in the last eight months has annoyed the steel frame, no end. But an immediate showdown may not be on the cards.
On July 4, 2016, a young Bihar cadre IAS officer, Jitendra Gupta, a 2013 batch officer, posted as SDO at Mohania in Kaimur district of western Bihar, was arrested on alleged charges of taking bribe.
Gupta had stopped four trucks laden with iron bars that were on their way to Rajasthan from Jamshedpur. He is alleged to have demanded Rs 1.5 lakh as bribe for their release, which he later scaled down to Rs 80,000. The truck driver approached the state vigilance bureau, which arrested him after laying a trap.
Again, on Friday, February 24, a police special investigation team (SIT), formed to probe into the leak of Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) question papers, earlier this month, arrested its chairman Sudhir Kumar for his alleged role in the scam.
This was enough to enrage IAS officers. “The police seem to be on overdrive at times,” said a senior functionary of IAS Association of Bihar. The officer said it was as if the police were out to settle personal scores against IAS officers and the quashing of an FIR against Gupta by the high court proved the point. The court, had earlier granted him bail on August 9, 2016.
In both the cases, the IAS Association stood rock solid behind its members. They submitted memoranda to the chief minister and chief secretary and said proper safeguards and transparency should be maintained in carrying out trap cases against government officers so that they were not harassed of framed in false cases.
In the memorandum to the CS, association members, led by secretary Vivek Singh and treasurer Dipak Kumar, described Sudhir Kumar as “one of the finest officers of the cadre” and sought transfer of the BSSC question leak case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in the “interest of justice, independence and fair play”.
“The association stands by the credentials of the officer and there is no reason to believe that any criminal intent could ever be assigned to him” , the memorandum read.
“The relations between two services – IAS and IPS – by and large have been very cordial and there is no confrontation as such,” said Vivek Singh. However, former DGP D N Gautam summed up their relationship as on bwtween ‘saas and bahu’ (mother in law and daughter in law).
Denying any confrontation between two services, a senior IAS officer, preferring anonymity, said DMs and SPs in districts, enjoyed best of relations. “What is surprising is that procedural propriety is not being maintained by the police and basic tenets of the law are not followed in such arrests” , he said.
Official sources said the control of civil administration over khaki was one reason for this rift. “The confidential reports of SPs are still written by DMs in districts and the proposal to introduce the police commissioner system has remained pending for years,” he said.
The administrative reforms commission, headed by V S Dubey, which was to look into police restructuring, after giving its first report on administrative reforms, could not proceed on that score as its term was not extended any further.