Following a decision taken by the Election Commission, the Gujarat government on Friday gave senior most IPS officer Pramod Kumar the additional charge of state police chief. Kumar, a 1983-batch officer, will replace state’s first woman DGP Geetha Johri who retired on Thursday. The newly-appointed DGP also retires in February next year.
The state home department issued a notification stating, “Pramod Kumar, Director General, civil defence, home guards & ex-office Commandant General, home guards…is given additional charge of Director General of Police… in addition to his duty… The order shall be implemented immediately without fail and a report may be sent today.” The notification signed by joint secretary Nikhil Bhatt also states, “The above orders are issued as per the instruction of Election Commission of India…”
Kumar was selected the senior most police officer by the Election Commission. He had served as in-charge DGP for nearly four months in 2013. The decision is likely to be argued next week in the Gujarat High Court which is hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking appointment of full-time DGP. The election commission is also a party.
The PIL says that the state doesn’t have a regular full-time DGP since April 15, 2016 after then DGP P C Thakur was transferred and replaced by P P Pandey as in-charge DGP. “Appointment of a mere in-charge DGP conveys the wrong message regarding the intention of the state. It conveys the message that the Government of the day wants to keep the police force of the state as a pawn in its hands…” the PIL has claimed.
1982-batch IPS Johri was appointed as in-charge police chief on April 4, after her predecessor DGP Pandey was forced to retire due to a petition in the Supreme court for his role in Ishrat Jahan encounter case.