More than two years after Prakash Singh committee indicted the then Rohtak IGP Shrikant Jadhav for his alleged failure in performance of duty during the Jat quota violence in 2016, the Haryana government has given him clean chit. The officer was also promoted to the post of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) from the post of Inspector General of Police (IGP) on Wednesday. Currently, he was IGP South Range, Rewari.
A senior official said the government Tuesday accepted the inquiry report by IAS officer T C Gupta in which he had given clean chit to Jadhav.
The violence during the Jat quota stir started on February 18, 2016, but escalated next day after a protester died in retaliatory firing by the security forces in front of official residence of the then IGP Jadhav. The 1994-batch IPS officer had allegedly confined himself to his residence for some time, apprehending danger to his life, prompting heavy police deployment outside his residence while the rioters kept setting the properties on fire. Even house of the state’s Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu was set on fire.
In his report, the Prakash Singh Committee had stated, “… had the agitation been dealt with effectively in Rohtak and contained there, the chain reaction of the kind that took place would not have happened. Maybe the other districts would yet have been affected but perhaps not to the extent they did. Shrikant Jadhav, IGP Rohtak Range, was the senior-most police officer present in Rohtak. Had he risen to the occasion, the complexion of events would probably have been very different. However, unfortunately, Sh. Shrikant Jadhav got obsessed with the feeling that the rioters were out to kill him. Talking to a senior officer in Chandigarh, he is reported to have said, ‘Sir, you have no idea the situation we are facing. Death is staring me in the face’.”
According to the committee report, IAS officer A K Singh and IPS officer BS Sandhu (now DGP), who were deputed by the state government to go to Rohtak and assist the local administration, found Shrikant Jadhav “very unstable and highly emotional”. “The IGP made the terrible blunder of even calling the SP Jhajjar to come to his support with whatever strength of policemen he could spare. The SP complied and moved with 350 policemen. While the SP Jhajjar was away from his jurisdiction, Jhajjar district also started witnessing trouble,” the committee mentioned in the report.
The committee had found that the IGP, at his residence, was protected by one company of BSF and more than 400 Haryana Police personnel. “This was absolutely amazing. An officer who was supposed to be protecting the citizens of Rohtak was concentrating on protecting himself. No wonder, the state government got exasperated and had him recalled. Shrikant Jadhav was subsequently placed under suspension. The committee was greatly disappointed with the way Shrikant Jadhav acquitted himself. He (Jadhav) utterly failed in the hour of crisis,” the committee had concluded.
On his part, Jadhav had told the Prakash Singh committee that the Jhajjar SP was asked to reach Rohtak along with spare force to help Rohtak SP “in maintaining law and order and to save life and property of people in view of the worsening situation at different locations in Rohtak”. “It was under intimation to and with permission of the Police Headquarters.”
“ …on the intervening night of 19/20 February, 2016, SP Jhajjar was sent back alongwith 100 police personnel,” Jadhav had claimed. “SP is fully responsible for maintenance of law and order in the district and he had provided all the force and equipment to SP Rohtak as far as possible.”
In a communication to the DGP on February 18, Jadhav had stated “the law and order situation at Rohtak was getting worse and had the potential of turning into a civil war”.” “SPs of Rohtak, Jhajjar and Sonipat were verbally advised to demand additional companies.” According to Jadhav, he was asked by IPS officer BS Sandhu (now DGP) on February 20 to leave Rohtak by taking the first available chopper and following the advice, he left Rohtak in a chopper on the same day.
Later, during the departmental proceedings, TC Gupta was appointed inquiry officer to look into the point of view of Jadhav and allegations levelled against him.
Reached for comment, Haryana DGP B S Sandhu said, “The inquiry officer (Gupta) had given clean chit to the officer (Jadhav) earlier, but it was to be filed (closed) at the level of government. That process had not been completed till Monday when a Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) had met regarding promotion of a few IGP-level officers, including Jadhav.”
Officials said the government accepted the inquiry report on Tuesday and issued promotion orders for Jadhav and five other IGP-level officers on Wednesday.
Jadhav and TC Gupta did not respond to the text messages and calls on their mobile.
Haryana’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S S Prasad said the inquiry report was accepted by government before moving ahead in such matters.
Rohtak was the epicentre of the Jat quota stir in Haryana. In the violence that erupted during the stir, 31 people were killed and property worth crores of rupees damaged. Jadhav was the only IPS officer who was suspended in connection with the stir. However, he was reinstated later. Many other officials, including DSPs, have also been reinstated.
A committee headed by former UP DGP Prakash Singh had indicted 90 officials, including a few IAS and IPS officers, for negligence.
Asked about the latest development on Wednesday, Prakash Singh said, “The government is not serious about implementing my report. It’s only matter of time that all these people who were indicted would be gradually given clean chit or exonerated. This is how the governments are running across the country these days. What can we do? I was not expecting anything either. Initially (after my report), the then DGP was given marching orders and the then Home Secretary was removed. But after that, political pressure started mounting on the government, which has not been able to resist it. We are back to square one.”