The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which drew flak for breakdown of administrative machinery during the Jat quota stir, is still to initiate action against top officers indicted by the inquiry committee.
While the Khattar government has suspended three Haryana Civil Service and 10 Haryana Police Service officials and also initiated departmental proceedings against several lower-level policemen, no action has been taken against IAS and IPS officers found in the wrong by the Prakash Singh committee.
NO ACTION DESPITE SEVERE INDICTMENT
The inquiry panel, which on May 13 submitted its report on acts of omission and commission of civil and police officers during the Jat quota stir, has faulted 10 IAS and IPS officers for inaction, negligence and failure to show leadership. Barring transfer of some of them, no action has been taken. A few indicted officers have continued to retain the positions in which they had failed to perform their duty at crucial moments even as Jats are threatening to renew their agitation.
The report, for instance, has come down heavily on Jhajjar deputy commissioner Anita Yadav, finding her to be the “most non-performing DC that the committee met” and one who is “unfit to hold charge of a district”. She continues to hold the position.
Additional chief secretary, home, Ram Niwas told HT that the probe findings were under consideration of the government. “Notices will be given to IAS and IPS officers to submit their comments and their replies and evidence will be considered on merit,” he said without specifying any timeframe.
Meanwhile, pressure is also mounting on the state authorities to take action, with the Punjab and Haryana high court first asking the government to submit the probe panel reports, including the confidential findings on intelligence wing, and then seeking progress reports from district and sessions judges on criminal cases registered in connection with the quota stir violence.
The Haryana government has repeatedly talked about initiating action against all those found at fault in the probe findings, but political considerations are likely to weigh on its plans to act against top civil and police officers with a couple of indicted officers having strong political connections in the ruling party and the ‘Sangh Parivar’. While Prakash Singh had already spoken about “high-level people” (he hasn’t identified them till now) asking him to let off some officers found wanting during the quota stir, several politicians, including those from the ruling BJP, have been telling the government not to act on the report in haste or indulging in nitpicking. A Union minister, who belongs to the state, had told reporters in Bhiwani last week that the government was acting in haste. “It should have waited for reports of others probing the stir,” he said.
While a minister in the Khattar government found absence of signatures of two officers, who were only assisting the panel and were not its members, on the inquiry report amiss, a former Congress minister also spoke in defence of an IAS officer whose non-performance had drawn blistering comments from the probe panel. A section of the state bureaucracy has also been trying to give the probe report an IAS-versus-IPS twist, accusing Prakash Singh of being pro-police. While the retired IPS officer has flatly denied any bias, the state authorities have sought explanation from two indicted officers for criticising the probe report in the media.