A week after getting a clean chit in the so-called telephone tapping case, former Himachal DGP I D Bhandari on Saturday attacked Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for “acting irrationally on the wrong advice of a caucus” to build a frivolous case and making a mockery of the police and CID’s functioning for past five years. District and sessions judge in Shimla had last week discharged Bhandari from the case filed Ramesh Chajta (currently Kangra SP) and earlier SP (Vigilance) challenging Shimla CJM’s order of May 25, 2016, which had held that no case was made out against the former DGP in the “telephone tapping” case in which an FIR was registered in 2013. Bhandari, a 1982-batch IPS officer, was removed from the post of DGP by Virbhadra Singh on his return to power in 2012, alleging that the previous BJP government had resorted to telephone tapping under Bhandari, who was then the additional DGP (CID).
The DGP had refuted the charge, but had said that the CID followed its own protocol in tapping telephones and that the same was being done after obtaining the government’s permissions. Virbhadra, however, ordered a probe into alleged tapping of phones. Bhandari was also denied pension benefits after his retirement on the ground that the Vigilance Bureau was investigating the phone tapping case. Eventually, it was discovered that only two telephones, against the claim of 1400, were tapped and neither of these belonged to any politician.
After the CJM cleared Bhandari, Chajta moved to the sessions court, which dismissed his plea on November 20, 2017. Addressing a press conference today, the former DGP said, “During the past four-and-a-half years, I faced serious trauma and was subjected to harassment and denied my rightful dues by the government at verbal instructions of Chief Minister. Some IAS officers, including a former chief secretary, and a few IPS officers and state services officers close to CM formed a caucus to rake up the so-called phone tapping charge.”
Asked if he intended to move court against those who acted against him, Bhandari said, “Of course. Why not? I am a police officer with an excellent career, including several years working with the incumbent CM. But this time, he turned totally irrational and refused to listen anything against his pre and ill-conceived notions. I am consulting my lawyers and will do something.”
“This was his (CM’s) worst tenure. A few officers around him, for some reasons, drove him to take all illegal actions. This has brought shame and disgrace to the police,” said Bhandari.