Hopes of a brief reinstatement as the chief of the Karnataka Police dissipated on Friday for a top police officer,Shankar Bidari,when a division bench of the Karnataka High Court ruled again that his record was marred by human rights violations during operations to hunt down forest brigand Veerappan in the 1990s.
Bidari,a much decorated police officer,including two Presidents medals for gallantry,who is due to retire on May 31,had on the April 24 directions of the Supreme Court approached the HC for a review of a March 30 order that found that the Union Public Service Commission had erred in not considering Bidaris human rights record while making him eligible to be the police chief.
A division bench comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna which had passed the March 30 order dismissed the fresh petitions filed by Bidari and the state government and ruled that there was sufficient proof of rape and torture of tribal women by the police in a National Human Rights Commission report on the Veerappan operations during Bidaris tenure as commandant of the Special Task Force.
During the process of the fresh petitions before the HC,Bidari tried to avoid going before the same bench that passed the March 30 orders. He was criticised for bench hunting by the court,and ultimately settled for the same bench.
As the said panel report/ NHRC orders are withheld from the UPSC/ not placed before the UPSC,the empanelment of the third respondent (Bidari) by the UPSC is vitiated and consequently the order appointing the third respondent as the DG and IGP of Karnataka is also vitiated, the bench said.
Bidaris appointment on November 30,2011 as the Karnataka police chief by the BJP government was first challenged in the Central Administrative Tribunal by police officer A R Infant,who was vying for the post and was senior to Bidari. The CAT ruled in favour of Infant in March. The state government and Bidari challenged the CAT order. In its March 30 order a HC division bench comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna upheld the CAT order and went on to equate Bidaris actions as the commander of the STF in the early 1990s with that of dictators like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. Following the CAT order in March the state government appointed Infant as the interim police chief. Infant is also set to retire on May 31.