6 weeks to go for retirement,Pande moved out
Saikia back as Ahmedabad Police Commissioner
The state government on Saturday replaced Director General of Police P C Pande barely six weeks before he was due to retire. He has been replaced by a 1973-batch IPS officer,Shabbirhussain Shekhadam Khandwawala,who was Director General,Anti-Corruption Bureau,a post Pande will now hold.
Khandwawala is the senior-most officer in the state after Pande.
This is the second reshuffle of senior IPS officers in the state within a span of three days. On February 19,the state government had transferred or promoted as many as 45 IPS officers.
Shunting Pande out of the DGPs post is being speculated within the IPS circles as a pre-emptive move against any action by the Election Commission.
In the run-up to the 2007 Assembly elections,the EC had got Pande removed since there were allegations over his role as the Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner during the 2002 riots. Pande was,however,brought back as DGP after the BJP won the elections and Narendra Modi returned as the chief minister.Likewise,S K Saikia,who was appointed as the Ahmedabad Police Commissioner at the ECs behest,replacing J Mahapatra,was also removed by the Modi government,and O P Mathur was posted in his place.
But the state government has now removed Mathur and brought Saikia back as the police commissioner. Mathur has been posted as commissioner (communications).
Incidentally,way back in 1977,Khandwawala had replaced Pande as ADC to the governor after a stint as the Valsad superintendent of police. That was his first posting after his probation in Mangrol,Porbandar and Mehsana.
A post-graduate in organic chemistry,Khandwawala (58),holds a police medal and the Presidents Medal for meritorious and distinguished service.
As Deputy Commissioner of Police,Ahmedabad in 1980,Khandwawala was one of the officers who arrested dreaded gangster and city-based don,Latif. As a young officer,he had also arrested notorious criminal Zinda,who was wanted in several high profile murders including that of a former Vice-Presidents son-in-law in 1988.
Though Khandwawala brings the image of an upright officer to the states top-most police office,he also carries the blemish of beating and maiming one Meraj Sutreja,a Junagarh youth in 1976,who was arrested on charges of keeping illegal arms.
Khandwawala was convicted and sentenced by the trial court,but the Gujarat High Court subsequently suspended the order. Khandwawala told Newsline that the case would not pose any hindrance to his appointment as the DGP,since it is only as much as a complaint.
Incidentally,Khandwawala is also an amateur story-teller and has even got 20 of his favourite short stories published by various publishers.
One of his lesser known stories,Gangu,was made into a movie,which was aired on Doordarshan in 1988.
Khandwawala was also posted in the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB),Police Housing Corporation (PHC) and the Police Training Academy,among other posts.
He was promoted to the DG rank and sent to head the ACB as a director general,relieving Pande from the additional charge in the pre-Lok Sabha election police reshuffle early this week.