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Frequent transfers in Punjab Police: Indecisiveness or political pressure?

Transfer of police officers has become a major bone of contention in the new government, with many of them being shifted from important positions within just 40 days after the Capt Amarinder Singh took over the reins of Punjab.

punjab Updated: Apr 26, 2017 09:29 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Punjab police

(HT File Photo)

Transfer of police officers has become a major bone of contention in the new government, with many of them being shifted from important positions within just 40 days after the Capt Amarinder Singh took over the reins of Punjab.

Call it the indecisiveness of the Congress government or its giving in to the pressure exerted by the legislators, who want police postings of their choice, a number of officers are at the receiving end.

Figure this: Raj Jit Singh, a Punjab Police Service (PPS) officer, has been transferred thrice since March 17, when the first reshuffle took place in the new government. Initially posted as the Khanna senior superintendent of police (SSP), he was moved to Jalandhar as the deputy commissioner of police (DCP) on April 1, and then posted as the Moga SSP on April 24.

There are other officers, too, who share similar, if not as bad, plight. On March 17, SSP Sushil Kumar was moved to Barnala and SSP Baljot Singh Rathore was moved to Muktsar. On April 24, however, the two were made to swap their posts. Also SSP Sandeep Goel, who was posted in Moga on March 17, was transferred on administrative grounds to make way for Raj Jit Singh. Meanwhile, police commissioners of Ludhiana and Amritsar were shunted out, without giving them any time to adjust to the new postings assigned to them on March 17.

Outgoing Ludhiana police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh was transferred because he failed to win the confidence of the local Congress leadership, said sources. The police officer was, in fact, transferred just an hour after Ludhiana MLAs Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Sanjay Talwar and Kuldeep Singh Vaid led by MP Ravneet Bittu came out of the CM’s residence after meeting him at 7pm on Monday.

It has not been a smooth sailing for top cops as well. As per government orders, dated April 1, director general of police (DGP) Mohammad Mustafa, a 1985-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was transferred from the position of DGP, Punjab Human Rights Commission, to DGP, Home Guards and civil defence. The orders, however, had to be cancelled after his wife and Punjab minister Razia Sultana protested with the CM.

The March 17 posting orders of Gaurav Yadav and IPS Sahota as additional director general of police (ADGP), administration, and ADGP, internal vigilance and human rights, respectively, were also changed on April 10.

EVERYTHING’S NOT FINE BETWEEN DGP, CMO

The frequent transfers in the police department has fulled the speculation among cops and in political circles that everything’s not alright between Punjab DGP Suresh Arora, whom Capt Amarinder retained from the previous Akali regime, and the chief minister’s office (CMO).

On April 10, when four top cops — DGP Hardeep Singh Dhillon (from law and order to internal vigilance and human rights), ADGP IPS Sahota (from internal vigilance to administration), ADGP Gaurav Yadav (from administration to jails) and Rohit Chaudhary (from jails to law and order) were moved, sources said, the CMO had recommended the transfers without discussing these with the DGP office.

Read more | Punjab police reshuffle: Nageshwar Rao is new vigilance director

“It’s a common practice for the CMO to post its trusted cops as a way of checks and balances in the police headquarters. But it seems the Congress government is confused and unable to achieve the balance in face of political pressure. The DGP has been told to ensure the department works in a professional manner but is not allowed to have his choice of officials,” said a senior government functionary. Additional chief secretary, home, NS Kalsi was not available for comment.