Punjab DGP: UPSC panel ready, Chattopadhyaya is out of top cop race

The UPSC panel for Punjab DGP post comprises names of Dinkar Gupta, VK Bhawra and Prabodh Kumar This has put officiating DGP Chattopadhyaya out of race
Officiating DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya is out of race for the post of Punjab DGP as the UPSC panel does not include his name. (ANI)
Officiating DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya is out of race for the post of Punjab DGP as the UPSC panel does not include his name. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 05, 2022 02:32 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

Sidharth Chattopadhyaya, the officiating director general of police (DGP), is out of the race for the post of top cop in Punjab with the Union Public Service Commission on Tuesday finalising a panel of three officials --- Dinkar Gupta, VK Bhawra and Prabodh Kumar.

The UPSC is likely to send these names to Punjab government in a day or two, it is learnt. The state government will then have to choose one name for the coveted post.

The names of the three officers were finalised in a meeting at the national capital. The meet was attended by Punjab chief secretary Anirudh Tiwari.

Bhawara, a 1987-batch officer --- who was DGP (intelligence) during Captain Amarinder Singh’s tenure as CM --- has emerged as the frontrunner for the post.

While Prabodh, a 1988- batch officer, has already written to chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi for the central deputation, Dinkar, also from the 1987 batch, was removed as the DGP by the new Congress dispensation on October 4.

Also, when Prabodh was the head of the SIT formed by Amarinder government to probe the 2015 sacrilege cases, he was criticised by a section of Congress leaders for writing to the CBI to continue its inquiry despite a clean chit to dera men allegedly involved in the sacrilege by the central agency.

Chattopadhyaya, a 1986-batch officer, who was being backed strongly by Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Sidhu’s group and was posted as DGP on December 17 in a sudden move by replacing Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, was desperate to be in the panel.

The Supreme Court guidelines make it mandatory for the state to consider only those officers for the post of DGP who are left with minimum six months of service.

In order to ensure that Chattopadhyaya’s name was on the list, the Channi government had retracted from its earlier stand conveyed to the UPSC about making October 4, 2021, as the cut-off date for the DGP’s appointment.

The UPSC, however, stuck to its stand and took October 4 as the cut-off date citing that it was on this date the vacancy ( for DGP’s post) was created with the removal of Dinkar Gupta. Since Chattopadhyaya is due to retire on March 31, the October 4 cut-off has put him out of the race.

There are unconfirmed reports that the Channi government is planning to challenge the UPSC’s move as it has ignored the state’s request to consider September 30 as the cut-off date.

Other officers who were considered by UPSC included Sahota (1988-batch), Sanjeev Kalra and Parag Jain (1989-batch) and BK Uppal (1991-batch).

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