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Next Punjab DGP: UPSC sets ball rolling, convenes meeting on Dec 21

As per an official correspondence to Punjab chief secretary by the UPSC, accessed by The Indian Express, the empanelment committee meeting for preparation of panel of officers for appointment to the post of the DGP will be held on December 21 at 10:30 am in Delhi.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 15, 2021 10:30:27 pm
IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota (PTI)

Two and a half months after Punjab sent a panel of 10 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has set the ball rolling for appointing state’s new Director General of Police by convening the empanelment committee meeting on December 21.

As per an official correspondence to Punjab chief secretary by the UPSC, accessed by The Indian Express, the empanelment committee meeting for preparation of panel of officers for appointment to the post of the DGP will be held on December 21 at 10:30 am in Delhi.

The committee, among others, would comprise UPSC chairperson or in his absence, an UPSC member as president; Union home secretary or his nominee not below the rank of special secretary to Union government; and the Punjab chief secretary.

The correspondence, dated December 14, states that the committee would also comprise of state DGP but added a rider that if the incumbent police chief is also a candidate in the zone of consideration, then he will not be a member of the committee.

Officiating Punjab DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, an IPS officer of 1988 batch, is among the panel of 10 officers sent by Punjab government on September 30.

The empanelment committee would shortlist three IPS officers while factoring in the service record and other criteria. The state government would then appoint the next DGP from amon the panel of the three officers shortlisted by the UPSC.

The appointment of regular DGP has remained a hot potato in poll-bound Punjab where state unit chief of ruling, Navjot Singh Sidhu, is believed to be pushing for 1986-batch IPS officer Siddharth Chattopadhyaya. Sidhu was miffed at appointment of Sahota as officiating DGP after the change of CM in the Congress government. He had questioned Sahota’s conduct in handling the cases linked to sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and subsequent police firing in 2015. Sahota has refuted the allegations. After Sidhu mounted pressure, the government, led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, sent the panel of 10 officers to the UPSC on September 30, and ensured that Chattopadhyaya remained in the race for the post of DGP. Norms mandate that any officer considered for the post should have six-months of service period left. Chattopadhyaya is due to retire on March 31, 2022.

The officers whose names were sent to the UPSC include Dinkar Gupta of 1987 batch. Gupta was replaced with Sahota as DGP after the ouster of Captain Amarinder Singh as CM. The other officers who made it to the panel are M K Tiwari and V K Bhawra (1987 batch); Prabodh Kumar and Rohit Choudhary (1988 batch); Sanjeev Kalra and Parag Jain (1989 batch); and B K Uppal (1991 batch).

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