‘Outsider’ officers in poll glare


(From top) Umesh Kumar, Jitendra Kumar Sinha, Pankaj Darad and Vineet Vinayak. Pictures by Nagendra Kumar Sinha

Patna, Sept. 22: About a dozen officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS), mostly on inter-state deputation in Bihar, are on the radar of the Election Commission ahead of the Assembly polls.

These officers may be shifted from field postings in the wake of complaints made by Opposition parties during the two-day visit of the panel team to Bihar led by chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi.

Quraishi has said the commission would keep tabs on these officers, though he did not give any indication about immediate transfer of those against whom allegations of alleged “favouritism” had been levelled by Opposition parties, including the RJD, LJP and the Congress. “It is not feasible to shift all these officers but they will be under the surveillance of the commission,” the poll boss said yesterday.

Sources in the state police headquarters said that at present four IPS officers of different cadre are on inter-state deputation in Bihar. While three officers are posted as deputy inspectors-general, one is posted as superintendent of police in the government railway police. A senior Bihar cadre IPS officer is also under the scanner of the Opposition parties, which questioned his posting in the field during the ensuing election.

Sources said the Opposition parties demanded the removal of Umesh Kumar, who is posted as DIG, Bettiah range. Kumar, a 1995 batch IPS officer of Karnataka cadre, is the son-in-law of Bharatiya Janata Party MLC Ganga Prasad. Kumar had courted controversy over deployment of the central para-military forces during the parliamentary elections in 2009.

Kumar, who was then posted as superintendent of police of East Champaran, had kept central forces stationed at the district headquarters while personnel of district armed police and home guards were deployed in polling stations. The RJD had complained to the commission on this.

Vineet Vinayak and Pankaj Darad, both 1995 batch IPS officers of Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir cadres respectively, are posted as DIG, Central range and DIG, Muzaffarpur. Alok Kumar, a 1997 batch IPS officer from Nagaland cadre, is currently posted as the superintendent of rail police, Jamalpur.

Gupteshwar Pandey, a 1987 batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, is at present posted as inspector-general, Muzaffarpur zone. He had lobbied for a ticket for Buxar parliamentary seat as a BJP nominee last year. He had also offered voluntary retirement from service in anticipation of getting a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections held in May 2009.

Abhijeet Sinha, a 2000 batch IAS officer of the Nagaland cadre, is posted as the district magistrate of Munger while J.K. Sinha, a 1995 batch IAS officer of Tripura cadre, is posted as the district magistrate of Patna. Similarly, Binod Kumar, a 1996 batch IAS officer of the Assam cadre, is holding the charge of district magistrate of Araria.

Vaishali district magistrate Minhaz Alam is an IAS officer of the Kerala cadre while his Gaya counterpart Sanjay Singh is of the Orissa cadre. Dev Raj Dev, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, is posted as the district magistrate of West Champaran.

An IPS officer posted at the state police headquarters said the officers on inter-state deputation are not given plum postings in other states. To drive home his point, he mentioned the case of Shobha Ohatker, a 1990 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre, who is currently on a three-year inter-state deputation in Maharashtra, her native state. “Despite being an upright officer, Ohatker was not given important assignments in that state,” he added.


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