Two days after making himself available for central deputation, Punjab Director General of Police Viresh Kumar Bhawra is learnt to have applied for a 2-month leave beginning July 5 on Friday even as the three-and-a-half month old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in state is facing intense fire over law and order situation.
The 1987-batch IPS officer has made himself available for central deputation almost a year after Ministry of Home Affairs empanelled him for holding Director General post at Centre in July 2021 when he was DG (Home Guards and Civil Defence) in Punjab.
There are talks in power corridors and the police department that Bhawra, who was appointed as the state police chief in January this year, has been eventually asked to go in for graceful exit, lest the government removed him.
Bhawra was not available for comment.
Earlier, then DGP Dinkar Gupta proceeded on leave after Charanjit Singh Channi had replaced Amarinder Singh as Punjab CM in September last year during the Congress regime. A decorated officer, Gupta was recently appointed as National Investigation Agency Director-General.
After Channi replaced Amarinder Singh as CM, Inder Preet Singh Sahota had replaced Gupta as acting DGP, but was replaced by S Chattopadhyaya following pressure mounted by then state Congress chief Navjot Sidhu. In January, Channi-led government selected Bhawra among the three officers shortlisted by the UPSC.
A spate of incidents which put ruling AAP government in tight spot on the issue of law and order soon after assuming power also put the role of Bhawra under the scanner. The incidents include clash between two groups in Patiala, Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) attack on Punjab Police headquarters in Mohali and brutal murder of singer-politician Sidhu Moosewala, among other incidents. The incidents of violence are believed to have caused AAP dear in Sangrur by election where party candidate lost to Simranjit Singh Mann of SAD (Amritsar).
Around four months after winning all the Assembly segments in Sangrur parliamentary constituency hands down, the bypoll loss came as a big setback for Bhagwant Singh Mann government. A section of intelligence wing of Punjab Police also gathers and collates, for the ruling government, though not putting it on record, the odds of winning an election and the orientation of voters ahead of a poll. The calculations went wrong and triggered the development where Bhawra offered to go on central deputation.