The Punjab government Friday justified the selection of Dinkar Gupta as director general of police and termed the allegations of bias leveled by 1986-batch Punjab Cadre IPS officer Siddharth Chattopadhyaya as “unsubstantiated”. It also accused Chattopadhyaya of misleading the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on the Punjab police chief holding a benami property.
The state was responding to the case filed by Chattopadhyaya with the CAT.
Stating that the allegations of bias in the selection process “due to the presence of former DGP Suresh Arora in the empanellment committee” is mere afterthought, the government said that “no representation was made by Chattopadhyaya regarding participation of Arora in the proceedings”. The state added that Arora had twice recommended Chattopadhyaya for the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
It further mentioned that Chattopadhyaya’s claim that current DGP, Dinkar Gupta, has been “indicted” by a SIT, is false as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has not passed any orders against him. “There is only a report filed in sealed cover an affidavit, filed by the applicant himself in the said proceedings, going beyond the mandate of the task entrusted to him by the Hon’ble High Court and without the signatures of other two SIT members, which as per the applicant names Mr Gupta,” the state said, adding the findings are of Chattopadhyaya alone and not any other SIT member.
The government also challenged Chattopadhyaya’s claim that Gupta had “unceremoniously been repatriated to his parent state”, and submitted that the IPS officer was repatriated to Punjab at the request of the state government after spending eight years on central deputation.
Stating that he has made no representation to the state government, central government or the UPSC, regarding non inclusion of his name in the panel drawn up by the state for selecting the DGP, the state government mentioned that Chattopadhyaya has simply rushed to the Tribunal without availing other remedies under the law.
On the allegations made by Chattopadhyaya against Gupta having benami property in Chandigarh in an application filed by him in the High Court, the government said that an inquiry was conducted regarding the ownership of the said property.
“It was found that the property in question was not benami, the owners and their source of income for buying the land as well as carrying out the construction of the house have been explained.” The government further said that the matter is still under consideration of the High Court and no final decision has been taken.
Stating that Chattopadhyaya has been empanelled as an Inspector General by the central government in 2008, the Punjab government added that he has not been empanelled as the Additional Director General, despite belonging to the 1986-batch of IPS, when even the officers belonging to 1989 batch have been empanelled by now. Gupta was empanelled for ADG level post at Centre in 2018, the State said.
Snubbing Chattopadhyaya for his alleged claim that he was virtually responsible for elimination of terrorism in Punjab, the government has said that it was not only factually incorrect but highly irresponsible.
“The claim of any one officer, being primarily or solely responsible for ending terrorism is not just only incorrect but highly misleading and irresponsible, besides being unbecoming of a senior IPS officer as well,” the state said.
While justifying Gupta’s appointment, the government further added that he is the senior most officer included in the panel, he has a wide range of experience of working in the field as SSP, Range DIG and has spent eight years on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau handling sensitive assignments. “He was responsible for neutralization of as many as 20 terrorist modules, solving of targeted killings of Hindu leaders and grenade attacks on a police station and a religious gathering. In 2017-19 as many as 20 terror modules were busted in Punjab and 95 terrorists were arrested with seizure of 81 weapons. During his service, Gupta has been commended by the incumbent DGPs and director, IB for his excellent work,” it said.
The matter is now scheduled for hearing at the Tribunal on May 17. Meanwhile, the reply to Mohammad Mustafa’s plea is yet to be filed by the government, while the Union has also sought time to file the reply.
Chattopadhyaya had moved CAT, Chandigarh, seeking quashing of appointment of Gupta as Punjab Police chief. Chattopadhyaya had pleaded that he has been superseded by three officers junior to him which questions his merit and integrity.