The Maharashtra Government on Friday announced the appointment of S S Virk as the Director General of Police,days ahead of a deadline set by the Bombay High Court. Speaking to reporters,Home Minister Jayant Patil said Virk had been appointed DGP but he would not handle election duty. Instead,Additional Director General of Police P P Srivastava,who was holding charge of the DGPs post in the interim,will handle election duties.
Virk,a 1970 batch IPS officer,is the senior-most police officer in the state and will be taking over from A N Roy,who was appointed DGP in February last year. However,Virks stint is expected to be a short one as he is due to retire by the end of July.
The state was told to appoint a new DGP by the High Court after Roys appointment was challenged by Director General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau Suprakash Chakravarty,on the grounds that he superceded three officers senior to him Virk,Chakravarty himself,and J D Virkar,Commandant-General of Home Guards and Director of Civil Defence. Chakravarty and Virkar belong to the 1972 batch along with Roy,but are senior to him.
Chakravarty and Virkar are also due to retire by the end of June and July respectively. Roy is due to retire in May 2010.
Although the SC has asked states to give an officer a minimum of two years in the top job,none has implemented it and Maharashtra is not expected to apply it now for Virk,which will pave the way for Roy to return in August.
Apart from Roy,Virk is the only other DG rank officer to have been empanelled by the Centre. He was posted in Punjab in the early 1980s when militancy was at its peak there. Faced with the task of flushing out militants holed up in the Golden Temple in Amritsar,he was shot in a gun battle during Operation Black Thunder II in 1988. He was recently repatriated to his parent cadre after allegations of misconduct were levelled against him by the Punjab Government.
Virk will be kept away from poll duty in keeping with the Election Commissions rule barring officers with charges against them. The Punjab Government has sent letters to the state Government,pointing out the charges against Virk during elections there.