Chhattisgarh forces under attack,from each other and from within

CRPF and acting police DGPs complain against intelligence officers,their colleagues disagree.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Raipur | Published: September 19, 2013 3:34 am

A blame game has broken out out among security forces and their wings in Chhattisgarh,the state most crucial for anti-Naxal operations. The State Intelligence Bureau has come under attack not only from the CRPF but also a top officer of the state police itself. At the heart of the showdown are the SIB’s alerts before the May 25 Naxal attack on a Congress convoy in Darbha.

Chhattisgarh: Another Naxal attack,2 CRPF jawans injured

The then director general of the CRPF and an acting one of the state police have complained separately against senior SIB officers and sought action against them. The Indian Express has accessed copies of these letters. In a sign of divisions within each force,the CRPF’s state IG has contradicted the DGP’s denial about having received the alerts,while the state DGP has defended the SIB officers criticised by the acting DGP.

Related: Punjab cop to head CRPF anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh

On July 1,DG (CRPF) Pranay Sahay wrote to Chhattisgarh DGP Ramniwas and asked him to restrain ADG (Intel) Mukesh Gupta from playing an “unprofessional blame game or a game of one-upmanship”. And on July 12,Chhattisgarh DG (Jail) Giridhari Nayak,then acting state DGP with Ramniwas on leave,wrote to chief secretary Sunil Kumar and home secretary N K Aswal: “The present predicament of SIB compels me to say that [DIG Deepanshu Kabra and Gupta are most unsuitable officers to handle the desk of SIB. The act of indiscipline and foolhardiness of erecting empires within the department is enervating the effectiveness of the police force… It is requested to take action against the erring officers and redeem the command.”

The CRPF’s Sahay retired days after he wrote his letter. Nayak is widely expected to take over as Chhattisgarh DGP after Ramniwas retires early next year.

Sahay’s letter referred to media reports that over a fortnight before the Darbha attack,Gupta’s office had sent alerts to various agencies about the build-up of Maoists and the possibility of an attack. “You may kindly like to verify the veracity of the information at your end and also whether the ADG (Int) or his office had really claimed something of that sort… we have no option but to bring to your attention that there was no such intelligence,” he wrote. “As you would appreciate,anti-Naxal drive of the nation would succeed only if all the forces work in harmony… we would request you to advise your officer [Mukesh Gupta suitably to desist from going to the media.”

The following day,the Chhattisgarh police wrote to several agencies with fax and postal details of the alerts they had sent,asking them to acknowledge their receipt. On July 4,the CRPF’s IG (Chhattisgarh) wrote back that his office did receive all the alerts except one.

Asked about the contradiction between his denial and the IG’s acceptance,Sahay told The Indian Express: “I only meant these were only general alerts and not specific.”

A senior state police officer said Intel inputs on Maoist territory are never 100 per cent accurate and one has to weigh in several possibilities before acting on these. The alerts about Darbha were neither routine nor general,he said.

“There were sustained inputs over a fortnight just before the Darbha attack that Naxals are camping and training in the area,including an input that they may cause a major incident at Jeeram Ghati. What more specifics does anyone want?” the officer said. “It was a collective failure; our field officers could not sense the threat. But we never blamed anyone. A judicial commission and the NIA are probing the case. It’s unfortunate that the CRPF is writing against one of our senior officers.”

Incidentally,the CRPF in an internal inquiry has given itself a clean chit over the Darbha attack.

When DG (Jail) Nayak wrote to the chief and home secretaries,he was acting as state DGP for four days. He alleged that DIG Kabra and ADG Gupta sit over crucial inputs,fail to act on them and don’t share them with others. “This lackadaisical approach of not communicating with DGP by DIG and ADG needs to be viewed seriously; this thing at the time of emergency can lead to serious circumstance,” Nayak wrote,citing examples.

“On July 11,I asked Kabra telephonically to show alerts issued during last six months,so that trend can be analysed and force could be guided properly… But,unfortunately,violating all norms of courtesy and discipline Kabra mentioned with foolhardiness that he cannot give it in writing,that he has been directed by ADG (SIB) not to produce the alerts,” he wrote,going on to declare Kabra and Gupta unsuitable for their positions and seeking action.

DGP Ramniwas defended Kabra and Gupta,saying they are among the force’s best officers. “Nayak wrote his letter according to his reason and understanding,” he added. Other officers felt Nayak ought not to have written the letter in his four days as acting DGP. “I do not favour officers acting with such malice,” former DGP Vishwaranjan said. Some others,however,felt Nayak had only highlighted the malaise in the department.

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