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Stop infighting or face dismissal: Punjab CM Capt Amarinder to police top brass

Firing line: Sends stringent message in meeting called after a DGP-rank officer made allegations against 2 others; praises DGP Arora, making his stance clear.

punjab Updated: Apr 12, 2018 09:28 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab Police,Punjab CM,infighting in police
CM Capt Amarinder Singh (C) with (from left) DGP Suresh Arora, chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar and home secretary NS Kalsi at a meeting of the police top brass at the state secretariat in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

In a severe reprimand to Punjab Police top brass in the wake of their internal fight going public, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh warned the officers to “stop right now” or face dismissal.However, with praises for the force chief, director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora, the CM also made it clear where he stands in this tussle.

He told the officers, “End your personal fighting right now and stop dragging your professional battles to courts and the media. Else, I will sack those officials who are indulging acts of gross indiscipline. All this is bringing a bad name to Punjab Police. If needed, I will even approach the Union home minister to seek dismissal of such officers.” The Union minister’s intervention is required for such action against officers from the Indian Police Service (IPS).

The CM had called this special meeting of DGPs and ADGPs after DGP (human resource development) S Chattopadhyaya, in an application before the Punjab and Haryana high court last week, accused DGP Arora and DGP (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta of trying to drag him into a suicide case of the son of a former president of charitable organisation Chief Khalsa Diwan.Chattopadhyaya, who is leading an SIT formed by the court to ascertain the role of SSP Raj Jit Singh Hundal in a drug peddling case, had accused the two DGP-rank officers of “being involved in”, and “targeting” him in order to “disable” him from conducting inquiry into the case.This is being seen as observers as angling for the top post after Arora retires in September.

At the 15-minute meeting, in which Amarinder took at least 12 minutes, ditched his usual cool posture and also said, “There are various channels and ways to deal with professional problems. Professional matters being taken to the court is unacceptable.”While he said officers were welcome to approach him directly to resolve any personal problems, “Any senior officer facing a professional issue should first approach the state DGP, followed by the home secretary and the chief secretary, and if he still not satisfied, come to me.”

An official spokesperson said after the meeting that the CM expressed “shock” and “concern” at the way in which the “proud legacy” of the force is being “destroyed” by some officers, though he did not name anyone.

Of the 11 DGP-rank officers, Sumedh Singh Saini was not present, while all 17 ADGPs attended.

However, once again he gave a clear signal that he has full faith in Arora's leadership despite the accusations by Chattopadhyaya.“Arora is a highly professional officer. The Union home minister wanted to take him to the Centre but I requested for his retention in the state in view of his expertise and professionalism.”He said he had never seen “such things” happening in Punjab Police that brought the state out of many difficult phases, including terrorism, mass killings, targeted killings, religious fundamentalism and farmer unrest.

Pointing out that, “as an ex-armyman”, he had seen from close quarters how discipline is maintained in the forces, Amarinder said he was getting a “hollow feeling” over the past 48 hours.“What is happening today was not only in extremely bad taste but highly detrimental to the interests of Punjab... Do a serious introspection for the sake of the force, the state and the country,” Amarinder told the police officers, of whom only Arora got to speak, besides chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh and home secretary NS Kalsi briefly.Arora said the entire business was particularly “awkward” for him personally.

Of the 11 DGP-rank officers, Sumedh Singh Saini was not present, while all 17 ADGPs attended.

First Published: Apr 12, 2018 09:28 IST