Wanted: An officer and an ally – States News

A little more than a year into its term, the Kamal Nath government has begun the process of replacing state DGP (director general of police) V.K. Singh, who took over at the end of January 2019 as the second DGP to serve this government. This has triggered a political storm, with opposition BJP legislators accusing the government of targeting honest officers’. True or not, there is certainly a shake-up taking place on February 10, 52 IPS officers in the state were transferred, many of them within six months to a year of assuming office.

There are many theories about why the state government is looking to replace the DGP. One possible flashpoint is the tussle between the IAS and the IPS over an incident on January 19. On that day, at a pro-CAA rally in Rajgarh, allegedly taken out despite prohibitory orders, a law and order situation developed when district collector Nidhi Nivedita and other officials tried to prevent the rally. In the ensuing scuffle, Nivedita allegedly slapped an assistant sub-inspector, which led to him filing a complaint with the Rajgarh superintendent of police. While the political executive and the IAS broadly supported the collector, sources say DGP Singh asked for a report to be filed after an inquiry by a DSP (deputy superintendent of police) level officer. The report, which found the collector guilty, was then forwarded to the home department. This infuriated IAS officers in the state, who have been pushing CM Nath to replace DGP Singh.

Sources say Singh’s position has been precarious for some time. Although he was appointed in January 2019, his confirmation has been pending for months. Based on a Supreme Court ruling for the selection of DGPs issued following the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case to reduce political control over such appointments the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is required to send state governments a list of three officers from which they may select a DGP. In November last year, the UPSC had sent the MP government such a list, naming IPS officers V.K. Singh, M.S. Gupta and V.K. Johri. On February 8 this year, the government wrote back, rejecting the list because one of the three, V.K. Johri had not submitted a written consent to be considered for the post. It has asked the UPSC to submit a fresh list.

All eyes are now on the UPSC. If it resends the same names, the state government will likely continue with Singh. (Some suggest the government is not actually interested in replacing him, and that this effort is only aimed at reining him in.) Alternatively, the new list could suggest other officers, including special investigation team chief Rajendra Kumar the IAS favourite for the post, currently in charge of the investigation into the infamous honey-trap scandal.

For the moment, opposition leaders are using the issue to hit out at the administration. The government wants yes-men, even if having them affects law and order, says former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Even the Congress seems divided, with state minister for general administration Govind Singh saying DGP Singh was merely fulfilling his duties.

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Source INDIA TODAY

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