1987 batch IPS officer of the Punjab cadre Dinkar Gupta has been appointed Director General of Punjab Police in place of Suresh Arora who has retired after a successful stint at DGP of Punjab Police. Dinkar Gupta’s appointment was cleared by the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh after UPSC sent a panel of three officers. Gupta is a shrewd and matured IPS officer who has served in various positions before his final selection as DGP Punjab Police. He was working as DGP (Intelligence) before his selection as Punjab Police chief. Dinkar Gupta has superseded six officers who are stated to be senior to him. However some of them are retraining in less than a month or a year.
The Punjab police had beeen strongly politicized during the ten years rule of the SAD-BJP rule in Punjab from 2007 to 2017. Sukhbir Singh Badal son of Parkash Singh Badal who was deputy chief minister and was holding the charge of home affairs made the maximum misuse of the police force and thus politicized.
Dinkar Gupta has hard job to cut the infighting among the senior Punjab police officers who had been ignored during the SAD-BJP rule and even after the appointment of Suresh Arora as the Director General of Punjab police in the midst of incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in Faridkot district during the SAD-BJP regime and DGPship of Sumedh Singh Saini who was the most favourite officer of Sukhbir Singh Badal. Things have not gone well even after shifting of Sumedh Saini and appointment of Suresh Arora as the DGP of Punjab police. Police had earned a bad name for not controlling drug trafficking during the SAD-BJP government and Amarinder Singh who had promised to end drug trafficking during the election campaign to the 2017 Vidhan Sabha elections, setup special task force (STF) under senior officer HS Sidhu, an honest officer, with direct control with himself. First Sidhu developed differences with Suresh Arora and he was cut to size by the Chief Minister to allow Arora run the state police without any obstacle. One police inspector was arrested by Sidhu for allegedly indulging in drug trafficking and during investigation, one senior superintendent of police of Moga was found to be supporting the police inspector and he was shifted from Moga. A special investigation team (SIT) was formed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court under 1986 batch IPS, DGP rank officer S. Chattopadhyaya to look into allegations against the said SSP. Again the differences among the seniors came on the surface as Chattopadhyaya in his report to the high court alleged that DGP Suresh Arora and Dinkar Gupta had conspired against him and wanted to frame him in a case.
The Chief Minister had to intervene to nip the differences in the bud and he shifted Chattopadhyaya to Patiala as DGP, Punjab State Power Corporation.
Meanwhile in a reshuffle Harpreet Sidhu was also shifted from the STF (Drugs) and Mohammad Mustafa another DGP rank officer of 1986 batch was given the charge.
As the race for the successor of Suresh Arora began, Mohammad Mustafa and Chattopadhyaya also came in the race on the basis of their seniority. Since, the Apex Court had directed the states to appoint DGPs in consultation with the UPSC, the Punjab government sent a list of one dozen senior IPS officer including ten DGP rank officer and some ADGP rank officers to the UPSC.
The UPSC team which included Punjab Chief Secretary and Suresh Arora as well did not recommend the names of Mohammad Mustafa and Chattopadhyaya and sent a panel of three officers including that of Dinkar Gupta. Thus Chief Minister Amarinder Singh chose Dinkar Gupta as the new Punjab Police chief.
Mohammad Mustafa who has remained close to the Congress and loyal to Amarinder Singh felt sore as he was front runner for the top job since was sidelined by the Akalis for ten years despite his seniority. Mustafa’s wife Razia Sultana who is MLA from Malerkotla is a cabinet minister in Amarinder Singh Government. Mustafa has now been appointed DGP Human Rights Commission which post he was holding during the SAD-BJP Government. Chattopadhyaya remains with the Punjab State Power Corporation. Other officers senior to Dinkar Gupta have been given insignificant postings.
Mustafa is unhappy as he alleges that he was left out of the three officers panel under a conspiracy and has decided to challenge this in the Supreme Court. He has engaged a senior lawyer in Delhi and would move his application soon. So Punjab police continues to be divided.
Since Dinkar Gupta has the wholehearted support of the chief minister, he if confident of running the police administration in a smooth manner.
Dinkar Gupta has a challenging task before him. Besides, the differences among the senior officers, the Punjab state is faced with a grave law and order situation. The safety and security of the citizens is a big task for him as the extortions, day light robberies and snatching ar an order of the day. Gangsters’ writ run on a large scale as the militants used to run the state during the militancy period of 1980-1992. The safety of women is the biggest challenge before the new DGP. The Punjab also faces the threat of militants who have been getting support from across the border and from their supporters in the overseas countries. The Punjab state has seen about a dozen target killings during the past three years. However, the police has succeeded in nabbing all the accused involved in the killings and credit for this goes mainly to Dinkar who had succeeded in gathering the intelligence and coordinating with the central intelligence agencies which will help him in his task of curbing the activities of the militants who have also their links with the Pak based terrorist outfits. The lawlessness prevailing in the Punjab jails also poses a big challenge to him.
The gangsters lodged in the jails are a law unto themselves and they run their Facebook pages and profiles and throw challenge to the police and their rivals. Such acts of the gangsters have created a sense of insecurity among the peace loving citizens of Punjab. The credibility of the Punjab police is at the lowest ebb and the major task before the new DGP is to restore the confidence of the people in the police. Corruption is rampant in the police and the involvement of policemen in the drugs and other offences like the disputes of properties and the real estate business by the policemen has to be curbed to restore the credibility of the police. Good luck Mr. Gupta and fight the evils, the people will be with you.
K S Chawla is a senior journalist based at Ludhiana
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