Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal,on Friday,suspended IG Vigilance Bureau (VB),S K Asthana for the unauthorised retention of 31 security men and using them for personal work and distributing them among private individuals as personal security officers (PSOs).
Talking to the Indian Express,Sukhbir said that indiscipline will not be tolerated in the police department. This should send a clear message to all police officers in the state that they will follow the law as much as they are to protect it, said Sukhbir.
Disciplinary proceedings for the major penalty have also been initiated against Asthana and an inquiry will be marked to a senior IAS officer of the state. The government orders state:
Disciplinary proceedings will be conducted on a day-to-day basis and completed within two months. It has also been decided that appropriate departmental action will be taken against those units which provided unauthorised manpower to Asthana.
The decision comes in wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 12 that Asthana was forcing junior officers to work as his personal servants. The court had issued a notice to Punjab Police giving it 24 hours to respond to the accusations
The next day,Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini assured the court that in case the allegation are found to be true strict action would be taken against Asthana. Saini had also assured the court that any extra police official with Asthana would be withdrawn with immediate effect.
Taking serious view of the allegations,Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had ordered Asthanas transfer out of the VB and attached him to headquarters following a recommendation by the chief director (VB) Suresh Arora. The orders had not yet been sent by the Home Department – held by Sukhbir.
Preliminary inquiry into the allegations was conducted by ADGP (Security) Dinkar Gupta,who found that even though strict instructions had been issued that no officer would have manpower for security duties in excess of the security norms fixed,Asthana had wilfully disobeyed the orders and kept extra security without a sanction. And used them for personal work. The report adds that there were sufficient reason to show that this manpower was given to private persons to perform duties as PSOs.
Asthana is an investigating officer in the case of disproportionate assets against former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) S S Virk.
Earlier this year,Asthana made headlines after the Election Commission ordered his removal as DIG of Patiala range on the complaint of the then Congress candidate for Lok Sabha seat of Patiala Preneet Kaur.
Asthana also came under the scanner for his alleged involvement in the Bhadaur Gurdwara clash in October 2006,in which one Ruban Masih was killed. Asthana,who was then posted as SP Barnala,was blamed for beating Masih to death.