CHANDIGARH – On 23 Jan 2023, Punjab Government promoted 7 out of total 8 State Cadre IPS officers of 1993 viz. Gurpreet Kaur Deo, Varinder Kumar, Ishwar Singh, Jitendra Kumar Jain, Satish Kumar Asthana, Shashi Prabha Dwivedi and Rajendra Namdeo Dhoke in the rank Director General of Police (DGP) in Level 16 of the Pay Matrix.

Meanwhile 8th IPS in ibid 1993 batch viz. Arpit Shukla, who is not directly recruited ( read RR) but rather promotee IPS (from SPS) and who is currently posted as ADG, Law and Order, Punjab has not been promoted in the rank of DGP due to some pending litigation in the High Court.

Meanwhile, with the promotion of the fresh 7 IPS in the rank of DGP, the number of officers in this rank has risen to 17 in Punjab. However, the number of such officers in the State is only 13 since four viz. Samant Kumar Goel, Dinkar Gupta, Parag Jain and Harpreet Singh Sidhu are currently on Central Deputation.

Meanwhile, an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, told that as per IPS (Fixation of Cadre Strength) Regulations in respect of State of Punjab as notified by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), Government of India in March, 2010 the sanctioned IPS Cadre in Punjab is 172 out of which there are only 2 sanctioned posts of DGP. Thus 15 posts in the rank of DGP are temporary posts which have been created by State Government perhaps with or without the approval of Central Government.

However, the Advocate further told that the catch is that the DoPT and MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) guidelines on promotion of All India Service officers stipulate that an IAS/IPS on completion of 30 years of unblemished service in the Cadre becomes eligible for promotion in the grade/rank of Chief Secretary (for IAS) and DGP (in case of IPS). Hence, latest 7 promoted Punjab Cadre IPS who are all of 1993 batch are very much eligible for promotion in the rank of DGP as per IPS promotion guidelines.

However, in neighboring State of Haryana, not only 1993 batch two IPS viz. Alok Mittal and AS Chawla, but 2 IPS of 1992 batch viz. OP Singh and Ajay Singhal and 2 IPS of 1991 batch AK Roy and SK Jain are yet to be promoted in the rank of DGP for reasons best known to the State Government. Currently, there are only 6 IPS in the rank of DGP in Haryana including one Manoj Yadava who is on Central Deputation. The IPS Cadre sanctioned strength in respect of State of Haryana as previously fixed in Feb, 2017 is 144 out of which there are only 2 sanctioned posts of DGP. One wonders since Punjab can have one and a half dozen IPS officers i.e. till 1993 batch in the rank of DGP despite having only 2 sanctioned posts of DGP, it remains to be seen if Haryana would too promote 6 more Officers i.e. 2-2 each of 1991, 1992 and 1993 batch as mentioned hereinbefore in the rank of DGP, wonders Hemant.

Be that as it may, Hemant further told that it has been over six months since Gaurav Yadav, a 1992 batch IPS officer of Punjab Cadre has been holding the additional charge of Director General of Police -DGP ( HOPF- Head of Police Force), Punjab. His main charge is however Special DGP, Administration. In the first week of July, 2022, he was firstly made Acting DGP (HoPF) when then regular DGP (HoPF), VK Bhawra of 1987 batch proceeded on two months leave. However, even after Bhawra’s return from leave, Yadav has been allowed to continue as Acting DGP (HoPF) till date.

Pertinent that Bhawra was appointed as regular DGP (HoPF) Punjab for a period of two years as such in the forenoon of 8 Jan, 2022 itself i.e. just hours before the announcement of 16th Punjab Assembly General Election Schedule. Bhawra’s appointment was made by then Charanjit Channi led Cong dispensation after following due process after complying with Supreme Court’s mandated order/guidelines of July, 2018 i.e. firstly the State Government sending names of eligible IPS officers to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) after which latter’s screening/shortlisting and returning to the former a panel of three IPS officers from amongst whom the State Government can appoint DGP (HoPF). In Jan, 2022, in the UPSC sent panel to Punjab Government, apart from Bhawra, names of two other IPS viz. Dinkar Gupta and Prabodh Kumar figured therein.

Hemant further revealed that before Bhawra, it was Dinkar Gupta of 1987 batch who was appointed as DGP (HoPF) during then Captain Amarinder Singh led Cong Government in Jan, 2019 in a similar manner i.e. by following Apex Court’s guidelines involving UPSC. Although Dinkar’s superannuation from IPS is till March, 2024 and he may have continued as DGP (HoPF) of Punjab at least till March, 2022 i.e. till completion of tenure of then Captain Amarinder dispensation but since there was change of guard in the State in Sep, 2021 and Charanjit Channi succeeded Captin Amarinder, hence Dinkar too got sacked as DGP although officiallly he proceeded on leave followed by going on Central Deputation in due course. Currenlty, Dinkar Gupta is posted as DG, National Investigation Agency (NIA) under Union Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, after Dinkar’s leave, firstly Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, 1988 batch IPS, then Special DGP, Armed Bn, Jalandhar was given additional charge of DGP (HoPF), Punjab i.e. appointed as Acting DGP (HoPF) but before his appointment as such could be got regularized by due process i.e. by involvement of UPSC only two months later in mid-Dec, 2021 Sahota got replaced by 1986 batch IPS Siddharth Chattopadhyaya , who was then DGP, PSPCL was however made Acting DGP (HoPF), Punjab. However, he too could not become regular DGP since he had less than six months of service left which made him ineligible for inclusion in UPSC prepared panel for DGP. Hence, within three weeks, Chattopadhyaya was further replaced by Bhawra, who rather got appointed as regular DGP (HoPF) for two years term till Jan, 2024 but unfortunately that lasted only six months courtesy Bhagwant Mann led AAP dispensation assuming reins of power in March, 2022.

Be that as it may, one wonders if ever since Gaurav Yadav, 1992 batch IPS, who has been holding the post of Acting DGP (HoPF) since past over six months, if Punjab Government has sent a list of fresh IPS officers who have completed 30 years of unblemished service or in other words who have been promoted in DGP rank to the UPSC for preparing a fresh three member panel from whom amongst whom the State Government can appoint next regular DGP (HoPF). Pertinent that since there are a total of 8 IPS officers senior to Gaurav including four viz. Samant Kumar Goel, Dinkar Gupta, Parag Jain and Harpreet Singh Sidhu who all although on Central Deputation whereas four others VK Bhawra, Prabodh Kumar, Sanjeev Kalra and Sharad Satya Chauhan are very much in State and all of them have more than six months of service left, hence it would be interesting to watch if Gaurav Yadav’s name would figure in the 3 member IPS officers panel prepared by UPSC for sending to Punjab Government from which appointment of next regular DGP (HoPF) can be made by Bhagwant Mann led AAP Government, asserts Hemant Kumar.