Home report blames suspended Bastar SPhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/home-report-blames-suspended-bastar-sp/

Home report blames suspended Bastar SP

Mayank Srivastava given 15 days to respond

The Home department on July 11 issued a chargesheet against former Bastar SP Mayank Srivastava,suspended after the Darbha attack,blaming him for negligence and failure to provide security to the Congress convoy. The chargesheet followed a preliminary enquiry (PE) by DIG Ravindra Bhediya that found him negligent.

What is striking,however,is the manner in which the “negligence” of this meritorious 2006-batch officer was first decided by an official order and is now being established through inquiries.

The youngest IPS officer in the state to have won two President’s Police Medals for Gallantry,Srivastava was suspended within 72 hours of the May 25 attack. The suspension order read,“Mayank Srivastava dwara apekshit star ki suraksha vyavstha lagaye jaane mein chook hui hai (Mayank Srivastava has committed a grave negligence).”

Several officers questioned this order against Srivastava who,barring a brief tenure at the Raj Bhavan in Raipur,has always been posted in Maoist-hit zones of Bastar. “The order fixed his responsibility without any probe,when the NIA and judicial inquiry had just begun. The subsequent probes have become only a mode to establish what has already been decided by top bosses,” an officer said.

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Bhediya,who completed his probe in less than a week,concluded in his report that Srivastava was guilty,as

despite knowing that the Congress Parivartan Yatra was crossing through his

district,“he sent his forces to other districts”.

The forces were,indeed,sent to Bijapur and Narayanpur where Chief Minister Raman Singh’s Vikas Yatra was to take place on May 26. Some officers say that Srivastava could not possibly be held responsible entirely as inter-district movement of police force takes place at the orders of top cops in Raipur PHQ,or at least the range IG. “Since Singh’s Vikas Yatra was monitored by the DGP and ADGs in Raipur,a district SP had absolutely no say,” said an officer.

DGP Ramniwas,however,defended the suspension and Bhediya’s report. “The incident happened precisely because there was some ‘chook’. An SP is responsible for his district. If his force was being asked for other districts,he should have refused,” he said.

“Can an SP say no to his DGP and ADGs,especially when the force is being asked for the CM’s rally? He is being made a scapegoat,” said another officer.

Incidentally,the notice sent to the suspended SP was received on July 7 morning,and without waiting for his response the DIG submitted his report on July 7 evening. However,the DGP said:

“He will get full time now (during the hearing) to

defend himself.”

Srivastava has been given 15 days to respond,and if his reply is found unsatisfactory,a departmental inquiry will be initiated to determine the punishment.