The state police will have two senior police officials at its helm for the next two months, till the polls are concluded.
In a snub to the state government, the Election Commission (EC) has directed it to assign poll-related work to Director General of Police (Anti-Corruption Bureau) Suprakash Chakravarty.
It has also said that Chakravarty will not report to any other officer and will be solely responsible for Lok Sabha duties. “The EC issued directives to assign poll-related duties to Chakravarty on March 14,” Chief Election Officer Debashish Chakravarty said. “It has said that Chakravarty will report to no one else and be solely responsible for Lok Sabha duties.’’
Experts said this can lead to confusion in the police ranks and the line of command because, effectively, the state will have two DGPs.
“Even if you separate election and non-election work, there is one police force to do it,” former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y.P. Singh said. “Having two chiefs will lead to confusion and poor optimisation of police resources.”
The EC had earlier raised questions over the appointment of former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk for the top police job in the state. It had said Virk could not be given any poll-related duties or powers. The state government last week decided to go ahead with Virk’s appointment as the director general of police. It was decided to keep Virk away from any poll duties.
The state’s home department had suggested to the EC that an additional director general of police like P.P. Shrivastav be in charge of poll-related duties. But the EC wanted Chakravarty, one of the seniormost officers in the force, to handle the police chief’s job for the elections.
“We had suggested P.P. Shrivastav to handle the charge temporarily,” Home Minister Jayant Patil said. “We consulted the EC over the appointment for poll duties and are going by their suggestion.”