Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 10:
If Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik thought he had succeeded in his design to cut former DGP Prakash Mishra to size and stall his elevation to a senior position in the CBI, he is in for an unpleasant surprise.
Sources have told OST that the unsavoury affair is all set to reach the courts soon where the decision of the Odisha government to first deny him an opportunity to go on a central deputation and then shunt him out to the non-descript position of chairman of the Odisha Commercial Transport Corporation (OSCTC) is all set to be challenged on grounds of mala fide.
“This is a palpably mala fide decision and therefore makes his transfer, ab initio, illegal. The order is non est,” said a senior lawyer of the Odisha High Court
The decision can in no way be related to the stand of the state government to retain Prakash Mishra in the state solely on the ground of acute shortage of police officers in the state and revealed the mala fide of the CM, the lawyer added.
If the case does land in the court, the issue of male fide would be discussed in the wider public domain, causing terrible embarrassment to the Chief Minister who would be viewed as unfair and unjust— a situation Naveen Patnaik would certainly wish to avoid.
The 1977 batch IPS officer, it may be recalled, had requested for the state government’s clearance to be considered for a position in the Union Government. Accordingly, his case was sponsored by the state government in December last year..
Shortly after the election, however, the state government informed government of India of its inability to spare the services of Prakash Mishra not only for a position in the CBI but for any position in the Government of India due to ‘acute shortage’ of police officers in the state.
The state government’s decision was welcomed in many circles in the state as a demonstration of the state government’s appreciation of the commendable job the officer had done in all spheres of police activities and, particularly, in the area of containment of the extremists’ activities.
His leadership skills were taken note of in the Union Home Ministry and it has been reported that Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, called the Odisha Chief Minister to inform him about the decision to avail of Prakash Mishra’s services for internal security duty.
The very next day, on July 5, Mishra was shifted from the position of DGP and posted as CMD of the OSRTC, certainly not a police officer’s job and surely not a position that an officer of his seniority and stature should be shunted out to.
Not content with humiliating the police officer with an exemplary track record, the Naveen Patnaik government has now embarked on an even more sinister course. The vigilance hdepartment, the perennial hand maiden of the government, has been asked to dig up some old files to implicate him in a case to further embarrass Mishra, reliable sources told OST.
Grapevine has it that there is an effort by the state government to persuade the Union Home minister against offering any position to Mishra and that a senior BJD MP has been assigned the job.. .
Together, the twin moves smack of vendetta of the worst kind designed to stall Mishra’s elevation to the central police hierarchy by hook or crook.
But why is the state government so scared about sending Mishra to Delhi? Grapevine has it that some IAS and IPS officers in Odisha, perceived very close to the chief minister, apprehend that the hushed up cases against them could be reopened once Mishra is in Delhi.
It is this gang of unduly apprehensive officials, who have misled the chief minister into committing the blunder that has grievously affected his credibility and image, sources said.