Bassi’s loss, another cop’s gain: Meet the new Information Commissioner | india | Hindustan Times
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Bassi’s loss, another cop’s gain: Meet the new Information Commissioner

The selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to settle for Sinha after the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge put his foot down on Bassi’s application.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2016 07:55 IST
Aloke Tikku
In his long years at the Intelligence Bureau, Divya Prakash Sinha had overseen the crack down on outfits ranging from Indian Mujahideen to the Hindu extremist group, Abhinav Bharat.
In his long years at the Intelligence Bureau, Divya Prakash Sinha had overseen the crack down on outfits ranging from Indian Mujahideen to the Hindu extremist group, Abhinav Bharat.

When Delhi Police commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi tripped in the race for a post at the Central Information Commission (CIC) last week, many of his critics who felt the police chief had mishandled the JNU row celebrated.

So did Divya Prakash Sinha, a retired police officer two years junior to Bassi in the Indian Police Service. The selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to settle for Sinha after the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge put his foot down on Bassi’s application. Two retired IAS officers, Bimal Julka and Amitava Bhattacharyya were also appointed along with Sinha on Wednesday.

Like over 330-odd others, Sinha too had applied for the job last year. But a committee of civil servants headed by Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha tasked to scrutinise applications did not recommend his name. Instead, it went for the 1977-batch Bassi.

Sinha’s record

In his long years at the Intelligence Bureau, Sinha had overseen the crack down on outfits ranging from Indian Mujahideen to the Hindu extremist group, Abhinav Bharat. The Indian Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for nearly 10 bombings across the country, including the serial explosions in Delhi in September 2008. Abhinav Bharat – which had Lt Col Shrikant Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya – as members were accused of blasts outside a mosque in Maharashtra Malegaon town in 2006. Both were arrested in 2008 and are in jail. The National Investigation Agency has taken over the investigation.

In 2012 when Delhi and Mumbai police clashed over an operation being conducted by Delhi police in Mumbai, the home ministry tasked Sinha to cap the controversy and get the two police forces to join hands to fight the terrorists.

Last minute drop

Appointed police commissioner by the UPA government’s Sushil Kumar Shinde, Bassi had endeared himself to the NDA by taking on the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi over the past year.

It suited the Congress as well that wanted the AAP government discredited too. This was no longer the case once the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi decided to oppose the police action against students at JNU. He became the face of the crackdown on students many believe was unnecessary.