Calcutta, Sept. 9: Three IPS officers are being considered for the post of director-general of police as Naparajit Mukherjee retires on September 30.
Sources said those being considered were G.M.P. Reddy, DG (intelligence branch); Vijoy Kumar, DG (enforcement); and B.D. Sharma, ADG (BSF), whose rank is that of DG.
Bengal now has eight officers of DG rank. Three officers of the same rank are under central deputation.
“Although all three qualify, the most important factor in the selection will be how comfortable the chief minister is (with the chosen officer),” a home department official said.
The final decision is expected to be taken in a week or two, sources said.
The sources said that initially, it was a toss between Reddy and Sharma as the chief minister had considered their candidature from time to time. Kumar apparently entered the fray because of his seniority.
According to a Supreme Court directive, a DGP has to be chosen from among the three senior-most IPS officers serving in the state. Kumar became a last-minute entrant because of this.
The three senior-most IPS officers serving in Bengal are Kumar; Sushant Bhattacharya, officer on special duty (Bengal police directorate); and Dilip Mitra, DG (training). When the names of the three were placed before the chief minister in August, those of Bhattacharya and Mitra were ticked off, sources said.
Sources in the home department said the search for the “ideal DGP” had begun a few months ago with the chief minister expressing her wish to appoint Sharma.
“Sharma has served in Bengal in several key positions and is believed to have a fair deal of understanding of policing and politics in the state. The chief minister has a high opinion of him,” an official in the chief minister’s secretariat said.
Sources said Sharma, who is currently on central deputation and posted as ADG BSF, had sought a two-year tenure guarantee as Bengal DGP when Mamata Banerjee had approached him through “informal channels”, seeking his opinion on the proposal.
Much to everyone’s surprise in the police fraternity, the chief minister had agreed, making the nod equally unprecedented as the demand itself, sources claimed.
“The informal talks later fell through as she got an impression that Sharma might not be the ideal choice who would accept all her decisions without questioning them,” a source said.
An official in the chief minister’s office said Mamata Banerjee’s preference appeared to have tilted towards Reddy since the problems in Darjeeling restarted.
“Reddy seems to be the front-runner as of now as she appears to be happy with the way he is handling the situation in the hills. Apart from intelligence inputs, she also gave Reddy tasks to test his mettle as an administrator — a quality a DGP should have,” a bureaucrat said.