ON A day K S Dwivedi took over as Bihar Director General of Police, the state government sought to address questions raised by the Opposition and activists.
Dwivedi, a 1984-batch IPS officer, was SP in Bhagalpur during the 1989 riots that left over 1,000 dead. A commission of inquiry set up by the state made adverse comments about the SP; these comments, however, were later expunged by high court and Supreme Court orders, the government said.
Home secretary Amir Subhani called a press conference Thursday to address the questions being raised. “As certain things were written in a section of the press, the home department wants to present the full facts,” Subhani said, days after the RJD and HAM(S) had questioned the appointment. “… It is quite possible that some people do not know about the [Patna] High Court and Supreme Court after the [inquiry] commission’s report… Adverse comments made by the commission [on Dwivedi’s role as SP] were later expunged by an HC order in 1996. He got regular promotion and reached the position of DGP in natural course.”
Dwivedi has also served as SP of Madhepura and Muzaffarpur. He went on central deputation with CRPF and returned to Bihar and became IG (operations) in 2008. He takes over as DGP from P K Thakur, who retired Wednesday. Dwivedi’s retirement is due on January 2019. Last posted as DG (training), Dwivedi was the most senior IPS officer in the state; the home secretary said the government went by seniority.
“When allegations are made against the police head, it has to be clarified with full facts. After all, such a position should be above doubt. But everyone should respect abide by the courts’ orders,” the home secretary said. He said the home department was fully satisfied before going ahead.
Dwivedi spelt out his priorities: control of law and order and effective policing. “I am a servant of law. Police cannot do much without public support, even if we meet the national police-public average of 146 police personnel per 1 lakh people. Bihar has just 76 police personnel per 1 lakh population,” he said.
When the Bhagalpur riots took place, the Congress was in power with Satyendra Narayan Sinha as chief minister. Rajiv Gandhi, then PM, visited the riot-affected areas. At one stage, the government issued a transfer order on Dwivedi, but rescinded it following protests from the VHP and other other right-wing groups.
Faruque Ali, a Bhagalpur-based social activist who worked for riot victims’ families, told The Indian Express: “Even when courts have given Dwivedi a clean chit, it is about fighting a perception. Can he deny that he was SP of Bhagalpur during the 1989 riots? His appointment may be legally sound, we believe better policing could have saved many lives.”
For most part of the RJD-Congress rule, the positions Dwivedi got are seen as not prominent. “Even when he returned to Bihar after central deputation, he was made IG (operations) and DG (training), viewed as being not-so-important positions,” said a former DGP.Another senior IPS officer said the arrest of three senior Maoists from Katihar during Dwivedi’s tenure as IG (operations) was an important achievement in his career.