The Punjab government on Saturday gave its consent to the Himachal Pradesh government's proposal seeking inter-state cadre deputation of 1983-batch Punjab-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Satish Kumar Sharma, who has emerged as the frontrunner to become next director general of police (DGP) of the hill state.
Behind the Himachal government's compulsion to install a non-Himachal cadre IPS officer as the DGP is the fact that the incumbent DGP, B Kamal Kumar (1982 batch), will retire within this month, while the next three senior IPS officers Somesh Goyal (1984 batch), Sanjay Kumar (1985 batch) and SR Mardi (1986 batch) don't fulfil the mandatory condition of 30 years' service for becoming the DGP. Both Goyal and Kumar are on central deputation.
After the controversy over the alleged phone-tapping erupted, the Virbhadra Singh government abruptly dislodged 1982-batch IPS officer ID Bhandari from the post of DGP. Bhandari was appointed as the DGP by the previous Prem Kumar Dhumal government. Though he will retire in April 2014, his chances of making a comeback to the post of the state police chief are remote, especially in the wake of the registration of a first information report (FIR) in the phone-tapping case on June 26.
"The Punjab government on Saturday gave its nod for sending ADGP SK Sharma on deputation to Himachal Pradesh after clearing all formalities," a top Punjab government functionary said. "We had received a request from the Himachal government in this connection."
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the Punjab home minister, cleared the file on Friday and on Saturday all formalities were completed after which a communication was sent to the Himachal Pradesh government, sources said.
Sharma, 57, is at present posted as the ADGP, human resource development and training. If he becomes the Himachal DGP, he would be the second officer from Punjab to have become DGP of another state after Gurbachan Jagat, who was the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir.
In fact, it is the end of the road for ADGP Sharma in Punjab, who will hang up his boots in September 2015. If he remains in Punjab, his chances of getting the rank of DGP are not bright even as he is perceived to be one of the brightest officers. Sukhbir Singh Badal has been nursing grouses against ADGP Rajinder Singh (1982 batch) and is unlikely to elevate him to the rank of DGP even as ADGP Singh's three other batchmates were given the DGP rank in January 2012. Without elevating ADGP Singh, the government cannot give the DGP rank to ADGP Sharma.
Therefore, ADGP Sharma has been exploring options of going out of Punjab.
But the move to appoint a non-Himachal cadre IPS as the DGP has led to some knee-jerk reactions from chief minister Virbhadra Singh and chief secretary Sudripta Roy. The Punjab government giving concurrence on the proposal of the Himachal government exposes the forked statements of Virbhadra Singh. "It is all rubbish," is how Singh had reacted recently to reports that his government had sought a no-objection certificate from the Punjab government regarding ADGP Sharma.
"No decision has been taken so far about the new DGP and there is no question of writing to Punjab, Haryana or any other state in this regard," Virbhadra had told reporters in Shimla.
On the other hand, chief secretary Sudripta Roy said that the government had sought concurrence from the Punjab government, besides sending the file to the ministry of home affairs for mandatory clearance to appoint a new DGP. "Since the state cadre officers did not fulfil the eligibility criteria, we forwarded the name of the Punjab-cadre IPS officer," Roy had said.
Sharma missed J&K DGP post by a whisker
Punjab additional director general of police (ADGP) Satish Kumar Sharma missed the opportunity of becoming the Jammu and Kashmir DGP by a whisker, it is learnt.
Government sources said J&K DGP Ashok Prasad had opted to go back to the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Prasad is a 1979-batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre. He was additional director of the IB before becoming the DGP of Jammu and Kashmir. But the union government resolved DGP Prasad's "posting related grievances" in the IB. In between ADGP Sharma's case had reached the union ministry of home affairs. But the file of ADGP Sharma was put on hold after the union government resolved J&K DGP's issues.