By removing Sumedh Singh Saini as the Director General of Police and bringing in Suresh Kumar Arora, an upright and non-controversial officer, the Punjab government has tried a “clean-up” to pacify flared tempers post the Guru Granth Sahib “desecrations” row.
Arora, a 1982-batch IPS officer, comes from the Vigilance Bureau, and played a key role in fighting terrorism in the state in the late ‘80s. A mild-mannered and soft-spoken officer, he has handled crucial posts while staying away from controversy.
A post-graduate from the University of London, Arora was the SP, headquarters, Amritsar, during Operation Black Thunder I in 1986, and the SSP, Amritsar, at the time of 1988 Operation Black Thunder II, to flush out militants from the Golden Temple. After the assassination of CM Beant Singh, he was appointed DIG, CM Security. Arora has won several medals, including the President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Services.
CM Parkash Singh Badal has often expressed approval for Arora, unlike for Saini, said to be close to Deputy CM Sukbir Badal.
Also a 1982-batch officer, Saini is feared as much by criminals as his juniors.While he too played an important role during the militancy years, he has been accused by human rights groups of violations. He was conferred the country’s highest gallantry award in 1987.
Sukhbir is believed to have prevailed upon his father to get in Saini as DGP in 2012, making him at 54 the youngest DGP in the country. The move was criticised by Congress and the BJP.
During the polls, Congress leader Amarinder Singh had alleged Saini carted money for the Akalis in his vehicle. During the Lok Sabha polls , the Congress forced Saini’s transfer for the duration of the polls, over him facing trial for allegedly abducting and killing three people of a Ludhiana-based family in 1997. Incidentally, the EC had handed over the reins of police to Arora.