Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 7:
In a surprising reshuffle in IPS cadre, Director of Vigilance Kunwar Brajesh Singh has been made the new Director General of Odisha Police. As per reliable sources, DGP till this evening- Sanjeev Marik has been sent on a long leave.
An official announcement, however, is yet to be made.
Among other changes, 1990 batch officer YB Khurania has been given charge as the Director of State Vigilance, 1982 batch IPS officer Binay Behera has been appointed as DG -Home Guard & Fire Services and Senior IPS Officer SM Narvane has been posted as Director of Biju Patnaik Police Academy.
Even though the fall out between the Naveen Government and Marik was well-known, the sudden removal less than two months before his retirement comes as a surprise.
As we reported here, the Chief Minister and Home Department were unhappy with Marik following the October 17 transfer of 47 DSPs and three ASPs.
As per sources, the Home Ministry was suspicious about the transfers and the Chief Minister himself had a meeting with Marik on October 31 to seek clarification. The transfer orders were halted following the meeting causing much embarrassment to Marik who is supposed to retire on December 31.
It may be noted that Marik’s predecessors – Prakash Mishra and Manmohan Praharaj also had similar fates following a fall out with Naveen Government.
While Praharaj was suspected to be a Pyari Mohapatra loyalist and was shunted out following the mid-night coup attempt by the latter in 2012, Mishra was shunted out for seizing money laden vehicles of BJD leaders during 2014 assembly polls.
From DGP, Mishra was shifted as CMD of the Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) and corruption charges were levelled against him, which were later cleared by the High Court and the Supreme Court. Mishra later claimed that the government was vengeful as he seized vehicles carrying illicit money for BJD during the polls. Besides, he also claimed that the corruption charges were aimed at denying him the CBI Director position.
Marik, who once was suspended for a year for alleged links with criminals from Bihar, was made the DGP after Mishra. He, of course, had been cleared of the charges before the appointment.
So far as the new DGP KB Singh is concerned, loyalty appears to have paid off.
The 1985 batch IPS officer, popularly known as KB Singh, was a front runner for the top post after Marik; however, the decision tonight comes as a surprise as Marik’s retirement was not very far away. Besides, many experts believed that the August 17 taunt by state High Court, that called Singh “more loyal than the king” would make image conscious Naveen think twice.
Interestingly, the stricture against Singh by the court had come in the backdrop of the FIR against Former DGP Prakash Mishra.
The Odisha High Court, while dismissing the FIR against Mishra, had made the observations against the State Government and the then Vigilance Director Singh and had said, “the action or rather the wilful inaction of the Vigilance Director in not ensuring free, fair and proper enquiry into the matter and allowing the report of a sham enquiry to be accepted and giving his consent for seeking approval of the State Government for registration of criminal case against the petitioner (Mishra) clearly shows that he (the vigilance director) was more concerned in exhibiting his loyalty to the ruling political establishment, akin to the old British adage of more loyal than the king.”
The IPS lot, however, are not amused with the government meddling with the administrators without solid causes.
“I don’t know what the government is thinking, but it is setting an absolute wrong precedent. It is outright offensive to officers who have served the country for decades. Even though well within their powers, such acts should not happen,” said former DGP SN Tewari.