In last few months, when he was posted as chairman, UP Police Recruitment and Promotion Board, Arun Kumar Gupta had been working on a house in Gomti Nagar where he plans to shift after his retirement on January 31.
But, as late as it could have been, the 1977-batch IPS officer was appointed the UP DGP on January 1, exactly a month before he hangs his boots. Gupta, the senior most IPS officer in UP cadre, had been overlooked for the post of DGP at least twice – on December 31, 2013 and February 28, 2014-when officers junior to him were give the post. However, he doesn’t mind being made the state police chief “for the shortest period possible”.
“I have been lucky,” he tells The Indian Express.
He refuses to comment on the practice of the appointment of DGPs for short term but asked what he plans to do in his one-month tenure, he quips, “I am going to work. I am well acquainted with all the officers and officials from the highest to the lowest levels of this department so I don’t think I will have any problem in dealing with them”.
Rebuffed twice for the DGP’s post, Gupta, however, says he is not in favour of the police chiefs being appointed according to their seniority. “This debate has been going for a long time. But, the appointment cannot be done on the basis of seniority alone. Merit also needs to be looked into,” he says.
Fourth day into his office, Gupta has already started official meetings with his subordinate officers. Sources say a reshuffle of crucial posts for IPS officers is in the offing.
A native of Delhi and a graduate from Jammu University, Gupta joined the IPS in 1977. Among others, he has served as SSP, DIG and IG in Lucknow. He was also part of Commonwealth Peacekeeping Assistance Group sent to South Africa for its first elections in which citizens of all races were allowed to take part in 1994.
Gupta has come to head the DGP headquarters from the post of Chairman, Police Recruitment and Promotion Board (he still holds the additional charge), where he supervised the ongoing recruitment of over 40,000 constables, which is in its last phase. The last Samajwadi Party government had faced serious embarrassment for the faults in recruitment of policemen by then government.
“It was a huge exercise but we managed to do it in an honest and transparent manner. Some people went to court, but no court intervened in the process. So, I think things can be done if one exercises willpower. If many people say that I have got just a month, there are those who have told me that even one day is enough to do for what one wants to do,” he says.
Known as an efficient officer among his colleagues, Gupta has come at a time when Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is actively working on changing the image of his government on maintaining the law and order.
Gupta who was held posts of SSP of various districts at the height of Ram Mandir movement says the current incidents of communal flare up can effectively dealt with. “I have been part of the force for 38 years. This is the biggest police force with maximum weapons, best brains and if we cannot do better policing then who else will? We need to make it more effective and vibrant,” he says.
For now, Gupta says, he wants to revive the beat system. “I want the police to be visible. This is my first plan,” he said.
Even though the government might give him extension, Gupta says he is working with the tenure of only one month in mind and his focus is on things that he can be done by January 31.