Randhawa cremation controversy: Punjab initiates action against officials

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Feb 28, 2015 10:57 IST

Admitting lapse on the part of officials in not according police honours to Congress leader and former Punjab cabinet minister Jasjeet Singh Randhawa at his funeral in Chandigarh on February 21, the Punjab government has initiated action against the erring officials.

The government has sent Rajiv Prashar, special secretary (protocol), on leave and charge-sheeted Sangram Singh and Harbhajan Singh, superintendents in the department, for lapses.

It has also written to the director general of police to initiate action against the inspector general (administration) Arpit Shukla, who failed to take proper note of the written request from Randhawa's family, in which it had asked for state honours during the funeral.

Besides, the government has issued letters, cautioning Mohali deputy commissioner TPS Sandhu, Patiala deputy commissioner Varun Roojam, and Mohali SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar and Patiala SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, who had failed to coordinate with the state government over the issue.

As per the protocol, the deputy commissioner and SSP concerned were supposed to inform the government of the demise, to make arrangements and to attend the funeral.

The action has been taken by the office of the chief secretary, who following the HT report, 'No state honours to Cong ex-minister at funeral in Chandigarh', marked the inquiry to the principal secretary (administration and protocol).

Though the protocol doesn't allow state honours for a former cabinet minister, it clearly mentions that the government should accord police honours at such a funeral and can announce a half-day holiday.

The ex-minister's family, in a letter to ADGP MK Tiwari, had asked for a state funeral, and he passed the letter to IG (administration) Aprit Shukla, who contacted Prashar asking whether the state honours should be accorded or not. The protocol department said the rules did not permit it, but the officials failed to note that the police honours be accorded by lowering weapons and firing in the air.

The government spared the DCs and SSPs as they cited confusion over the issue of jurisdiction. When Randhawa was the minister, he was elected from Ghanaur in Patiala, whereas the last election he contested was from Dera Bassi in Mohali. The office of the chief secretary has cautioned them in written not to repeat such a thing.

The chief secretary's office also asked the DGP to take action against the erring police officials. "It came to notice that the matter reached the office of ADGP MK Tiwari and IG (administration) Arpit Shukla, but the police did not make the required arrangements," read the letter in which the observation of the inquiry officer mentioned that the "DGP should look into the lapses committed at the police level".

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