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Punjab Home Guards chief seeks early retirement: ‘harassed, ignored, abused, privacy violated’

Accused of being a permanent resident of Canada, he refuses to submit passport copy: ‘personal thing, cannot share’

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 10, 2021 10:35:12 am
Pune: 152 trainees of 32nd Merged Artificer Apprentice Course complete training152 trainees of the 32nd Merged Artificer Apprentice Course (MAAC) recently successfully completed professional ab-initio training of 117 weeks at INS Shivaji.

Punjab Home Guards Commandant General and Civil Defence Director Kultaran Singh Ghumman on Monday served a notice to Punjab government seeking premature retirement, alleging that he had been “harassed, ignored, abused and served with chargesheet on frivolous grounds without following procedures”.

In the notice addressed to Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Ghumman wrote, “My constitutional right to privacy has been blatantly violated by seeking my offshore travel history from immigration authorities on unspecified grounds, as if I am a threat to national security”.

Recounting how he came from Border Security Force (BSF) to Punjab Police in 1989 before his lateral entry into the Punjab Home Guards, Ghumman wrote, “I have had a very meaningful and professionally satisfactory tenures during my combatised and non-combatised career spanning over 35 years”.

Ghumman, while giving three month mandatory notice to seek premature retirement, wrote, “I have dedicated 35 years of my life wearing uniform for the country…I could achieve the highest rank available in the Department. Now, before I lose my sanity, having been put to severe mental agony, I would like to bow out and hang my uniform for good.”

Punjab Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Anurag Aggarwal, however, said, a chargesheet had been served to Ghumman for going to Canada “without taking leave”. Aggarwal added, “There are a lot of allegations against him. It is also alleged that he is permanent resident of Canada. Despite asking multiple times, he has not submitted a copy of his passport. He is liable to be dismissed from service, if he is a permanent resident of Canada. There are serious charges against him and his request for voluntary retirement cannot be accepted. He should reply to the chargesheet”.

Ghumman, when contacted, however said he had got the leave “sanctioned” when he went to Canada in 2015 to meet his children – one a permanent resident and another studying there — for which the chargesheet was issued to him. He also refuted the allegations that he had permanent resident status of Canada, saying that “I was never asked to submit my passport. My comments were sought on the allegations and I replied that I did not have PR of any other country nor I want to have it even after my retirement.”
“My passport is a personal thing, which I cannot share,” added Ghumman.

In an interim reply to the chargesheet to ACS (Home) on August 4, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Ghumman wrote, “Before I file a detailed and befitting reply, kindly authenticate the documents on whose basis, it has been presumed that I left the country without seeking ex-India leave”.

Ghumman further wrote, “The copy of travel details annexed with the chargesheet seems to have been obtained from Indian immigration authorities. I understand it’s my private information, which the Govt.
can ask only in very serious cases. Here, I may kindly be informed, on what grounds this personal information was obtained? I would appreciate, if all correspondence pertaining to seeking this information is provided to me in attested form. I may also be informed if I am facing any serious cases related to national security or am under surveillance for any act deterrent to national security? This is serious violation of my right to privacy, which I shall defend to my last drop of blood.”

Ghumman asked what made ACS (Home) office to conclude that he left country for 15 days without any permission when he had always travelled offshore with permission. He also sought to know why his explanation was not sought before framing charges.

The next day, on August 5, Ghumman questioned evaluation of his Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) by Aggarwal, pointing out that “This is the worst assessment I have been awarded in my unblemished career”.

Ghumman told over phone that his APAR was “corrected” by the accepting authority, the CM.
In the letter to Aggarwal, where he said he “regretfully like to question your assessment”, Ghumman pointed out “You have never met me in person; there has been no communication between the two of us; Despite my repeated attempts/requests to call on your goodself, I was never allowed the pleasure to call on you.”

Ghumman was elevated to Punjab Home Guards (PHG) Commandant General in 2017, but he complains that ever since he joined there was “dual command” with an IPS officer posted as DGP in ex-cadre post, which prevented him from exercising his authority.

He said he was “demoted as Additional Commandant General PHG last year after the rules were amended discreetly in a cabinet meeting, which he challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and got a stay to continue as Commandant General”.

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