Gujarat’s first woman IPS officer Geetha Johri, who was also the first woman state police chief (in-charge), retired on Thursday. As the model code of conduct is in force in Gujarat, the decision regarding the new director general of police (DGP) will be taken by the Election Commission (EC).
According to officials in the state Home Department, Additional DGP Mohan Jha has been ordered to “look after” the duties of police chief till further orders.
Sources, however, said that names of seniormost IPS officers Pramod Kumar and Shivanand Jha are doing the rounds as the replacement of Johri. Read: Who is Geetha Johri?
Kumar had served as in-charge DGP for nearly four months in 2013.
A PIL seeking appointment of a full-time DGP is also pending in the Gujarat High Court. The petitioner, former IPS officer Rahul Sharma, had highlighted that Johri would be retiring on November 30. The case was to be heard on Wednesday, but was adjourned after the EC, which was also made a party in the PIL, sought time.
The PIL said that the state didn’t have a regular DGP since April 15, 2016, after then police chief P C Thakur was transferred and replaced by P P Pandey as in-charge DGP. “Appointment of a mere in-charge DGP conveys the wrong message regarding the intention of the state… that the government of the day wants to keep the police force… as a pawn in its hands…,” the PIL claimed.
Johri, the 1982-batch IPS officer, was appointed as in-charge DGP on April 4, after her predecessor Pandey was forced to step down by the Supreme Court for his alleged role in Ishrat Jahan encounter case.
Johri’s rise to the top job has not been away from the controversies — from being a “dare devil” officer to proving that the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh was fake and then allegedly derailing its probe.
Besides being given the additional charge of DGP, Johri held a non-executive post of managing director, Gujarat State Police Housing Corporation, from May 2012.
In 2012, she was chargesheeted by the CBI for conspiracy, murder and destruction of evidence in the alleged encounters of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauserbi and Tulsiram Prajpati. The chargesheet also included then minister of state for home Amit Shah, now the BJP president, among others who have been discharged.
The CBI chargesheet in 2012 alleged that Johri “did not send first inquiry report prepared by police inspector V L Solanki, investigating officer, to the Supreme Court in time. At the instance of minister of state (home), Gujarat, Johri asked Solanki to change the enquiry report.”
She was chargesheeted for “causing disappearance of material evidence, bringing the investigating officer V L Solanki to probe in a particular manner to shield some senior police officers and Shah.”
In March, 2015, Johri was discharged by the court, saying “it is seen that all the acts and omissions alleged… do fall within the discharge of her official duty as IGP.”
A month later, she was promoted to the DGP rank by the BJP-led government.