Wanted: an officer and an ally

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A little more than a year after his term, the government of Kamal Nath has begun the process of replacing the state DGP (chief police officer) V.K. Singh, who took office in late January 2019 as the second DGP to serve this government. This has triggered a political storm, with opposition lawmakers from the BJP accusing the government of attacking honest officials. "True or not, there is certainly a shock on February 10, 52 IPS officers in the state were transferred, many of them within six months to one year of taking office.

There are many theories about why the state government is looking to replace the DGP. A possible critical point is the dispute between the IAS and the IPS over an incident on January 19. That day, at a pro-CAA rally in Rajgarh, allegedly eliminated despite prohibitive orders, a public order situation developed when the district collector Nidhi Nivedita and other officials tried to avoid the concentration. In the dispute that followed, Nivedita allegedly slapped an assistant assistant inspector, which led him to file a complaint with the Rajgarh police superintendent. While the political executive and the IAS strongly supported the collector, sources say DGP Singh requested that a report be submitted after an investigation by a DSP-level officer (deputy police superintendent). The report, which found the collector guilty, was sent to the department of origin. This angered the IAS officers in the state, who have been pressuring CM Nath to replace DGP Singh.

Sources say that Singh's position has been precarious for some time. Although it was named in January 2019, its confirmation has been pending for months. Based on a Supreme Court ruling for the selection of DGPs issued after the Prakash Singh vs. India Union case to reduce political control over such appointments, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) must send state governments a list of three officers from which you can select a DGP. In November of last year, the UPSC had sent such a list to the MP government, appointing IPS officers V.K. Singh, M.S. Gupta and V.K. Johri On February 8 of this year, the government responded, rejecting the list because one of the three, V.K. Johri had not submitted written consent to be considered for the position. You have asked UPSC to send a new list.

All eyes are now on the UPSC. If you forward the same names, the state government will probably continue with Singh. (Some suggest that the government is not really interested in replacing it, and that this effort only aims to control it.) Alternatively, the new list might suggest other officers, including the head of the special investigation team Rajendra Kumar, the IAS favorite for the position, currently in charge of the investigation into the infamous honey trap scandal.

At the moment, opposition leaders are using the issue to attack the administration. The government wants men yes, even if having them affects law and order, says former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Even Congress seems divided, with the Minister of State for the General Administration Govind Singh saying that DGP Singh was simply fulfilling his duties.

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Raj Gaur

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