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Gupta on leave, Spl DGP Sahota gets addl charge of Punjab Police chief

Sahota, a 1988-batch IPS officer of Punjab cadre, and presently holding the charge of the Special DGP (Armed Batallions), Jalandhar, supersedes 1986-batch IPS officer S Chattopadhyay and 1987-batch IPS officer V K Bhawra.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
September 26, 2021 5:00:13 am
IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota after assuming the additional charge of Punjab DGP, in Chandigarh on saturday. (PTI)

Senior IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota was on Saturday given the additional charge of the Punjab DGP after incumbent state police chief, Dinkar Gupta, proceeded on leave.

Sahota, a 1988-batch IPS officer of Punjab cadre, and presently holding the charge of the Special DGP (Armed Batallions), Jalandhar, supersedes 1986-batch IPS officer S Chattopadhyay and 1987-batch IPS officer V K Bhawra.

Amid ongoing changes in the state bureaucracy and administration following change of guard in sgate, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, sources said, was batting for Chattopadhyay’s elevation as state police chief, but Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi wanted Sahota on the post.

According to an order issued by state Home Department, Sahota has been “given the additional charge of the DGP, Punjab, in addition to his own duties during the leave period of Dinkar Gupta”. It will come into force with immediate effect, as per the order.

Chief Minister Channi congratulated Sahota for taking the additional charge. “I am fully confident that he will serve the people of Punjab to the best of his ability. Wishing him all the best,” said Channi in a tweet.

Gupta, a 1987-batch officer, had applied for two-week leave after Congress replaced Capt Amarinder Singh with Channi, a SC community face, as chief minister.

The change in the head of state police force came two days after the new government appointed Anirudh Tewari as the Chief Secretary after shunting Vini Mahajan. DGP Gupta is the husband of Mahajan.

The elevation of Sahota, who comes Scheduled Caste (SC) community, to the top post is in tune with other changes being carried out. Earlier, IAS officer Hussan Lal was appointed as Principal Secretary to the CM, followed by two additional chief secretaries V K Janjua and Kirpa Shankar Saroj – all three from SC community.

Meanwhile, a Punjab government functionary said, “Sahota was given additional charge as a stop gap arrangement and his name would be included in a panel to be sent to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to make him regular state police chief”.

After assuming charge, Sahota held a meeting with the top brass of Punjab Police.

While terming all the initiatives taken by the force in past as extremely laudable, Sahota said that he “will continue to work for further betterment of the state police”

“Further strengthening the fight against drugs and keeping vigil on bad elements, besides, maintaining law and order in the state are among my top priorities,” said Sahota.

The senior IPS officer had served in various capacities in the state. Prior to the posting as Special DGP (Armed Battalion), he had remained Special DGP (Punjab Home Guards) and Commandant General Civil Defence. He also served as ADGP PAP Jalandhar, ADGP Railways, ADGP Prisons, ADGP Administration, Director Bureau of Investigation and other major posts in Punjab Police.

Sahota had also headed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into 2015 sacrilege incident, which ended up having egg on face after it claimed that the desecration of the holy book was handiwork of foreign elements. Two men from Faridkot, arrested by the SIT for alleged desecration, were let off after a backlash where an Australia-based person defied the police version terming the alleged telephonic transcripts involving the two brothers hailing from Faridkot as fabricated to falsely implicate them.

Meanwhile, as per sources major rejig is on cards in Punjab Police and chiefs of Intelligence and Vigilance Bureau may be replaced.

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