The state government has decided to appoint former Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP) SS Virk to the same post in Maharashtra, in place of AN Roy. But, Virk will not have complete executive powers during the Lok Sabha elections.
This was an Election Commission (EC) condition. Hindustan Times had reported, on Wednesday, that the EC communicated this to the state government in light of Virk’s removal from the post of Punjab DGP following allegations of partisanship.
Virk will also not handle law and order, or administrative and financial decisions pertaining to the elections. Additional DGP PP Srivastav has been temporarily handed election powers instead.
Home Minister Jayant Patil said: “The EC had not rejected Virk as DGP, it had only imposed the election duty condition. We are consulting with the EC to get its nod for handing over election charge to Srivastav.” Government sources said Virk’s appointment was a potential embarrassment for the Home Department, but it decided to go ahead as Chief Minister Ashok Chavan was keen on it.
A new police chief had to be named after the Bombay High Court set aside Roy’s appointment, calling the selection procedure “arbitrary”.
Virk is due to retire in July, and will get full powers only in May, when the elections end.
“This is the first time that the state will have a police chief who would be kept away from election duty. He will have no say over law and order during the polls,” said a senior bureaucrat.
“I have been associated with the Maharashtra police for a long time. It is an excellent and professional police force. I am happy to lead such an extremely professional police force,” said Virk on his appointment.