Monday, 30th October 2017

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Nitish erupts, top cops feel the heat

Hell hath no fury like a livid Nitish Kumar, the Bihar police top guns found out today when he ordered over a dozen senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to get out of a review meeting of the home department.

By Dev Raj
  • Published 29.12.15
Chief minister Nitish Kumar at the home department review meeting in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh

Patna, Dec. 28: Hell hath no fury like a livid Nitish Kumar, the Bihar police top guns found out today when he ordered over a dozen senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to get out of a review meeting of the home department.

Though there was no official reason given, sources in the police headquarters said the chief minister was angry over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, especially the murder of two engineers working for a road construction company in Darbhanga that had not paid up extortion money demanded by a notorious gang operating in the area.

The entire state police top brass headed by director general of police (DGP) P.K. Thakur was waiting eagerly for the chief minister to arrive for the 11am meeting at the CM secretariat that was to discuss the five-year roadmap for the home department, of which the police constitute the most vital part. Nitish arrived around 20 minutes late, and was welcomed by Thakur. The chief minister had a terse conversation with the DGP. The DGP emerged from Nitish's chamber, pointed out to almost half of the police top brass and asked them to leave the meeting hall. Among them were three director-general-rank officers - DG (training) K.S. Dwivedi, DG-cum-chairman of Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation (BPBCC) A.K. Upadhyaya, and DG (homeguard and fire services) P.N. Rai - additional director generals including ADG (modernisation) Kumar Rajesh Chandra, ADG (wireless) Gupteshwar Pandey, and inspector generals including IG (provision) Pankaj Darad, IG (railway) Amit Kumar, IG (training) A.K. Ambedkar, IG (Bihar Military Police) Ajitabh Kumar and IG (headquarters and administration) Sunil Kumar.

The cops - who had all been invited by the home department for the meeting - didn't know what hit them.

"This was unimaginable and unprecedented," a senior police officer present at the meeting said under cover of anonymity. "Everybody was waiting eagerly for the five-year vision for the department to be discussed, but this came as a shock. Many who were asked to leave did not budge as they could not grasp the marching orders. They had to be told again to make them understand."?

The chief minister entered the meeting hall only when the officers had trooped out.

Though the DGP did not give the senior officers any reasons, sources said that Nitish also had adverse inputs about a couple of officers among those asked to leave. The feedback regarding one officer, sources said, was related to bad behaviour with subordinates.

What surprised everybody, said a senior officer, was that among those asked to leave were DG (training), as well as ADG and IG (modernisation). Surprising, because these officers would be the ones responsible for the modernisation of the Bihar police and strengthening training as part of the five-year vision of the department. "It was not just a law and order review meeting, but a vision meeting," the senior officer said. "We could understand if IG (railway) or DG (BPBCC) are not required, but how come those responsible for training and modernisation are not needed? They are critical for a long-term vision." The officials who were asked to leave kept waiting in a corner till the meeting got over. "We waited as we anticipated that we could be needed later on during the meeting, or given some task," said one of the officers, who seemed totally taken aback.

The censured officers left with long faces.

When The Telegraph tried to contact principal secretary (home) Amir Subhani, his cellphone was constantly switched off and he was unavailable on his office numbers. The DGP did not respond to the calls on his mobile, while ADG (headquarters) Sunil Kumar, who is also the official spokesperson of the Bihar police, first asked us to get in touch after half-an-hour and later did not take our calls.

Nitish has been known to scold senior officials at law and order review meetings over failure to curb crime, but he has never before asked anybody to leave. In 2014, he rebuked then Bettiah superintendent of police (SP) Saurav Kumar Sah and then Sitamarhi SP P.K. Sinha over a spate of crimes.

In the Darbhanga engineers' murder, the police on Monday arrested a man who they said had played a key role.