Mystery shrouds S P Vaid’s ouster as J&K Police Chief

The appointment of Dilbag Singh as interim Director General of Police (DGP) is unprecedented in the police history of the state and it has also raised several questions.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday did not grant the exemption to the state regarding the court’s guidelines on the appointment of the interim DGP. Instead it has issued notices to the Centre and state. The state has already approached the UPSC with a panel of names for the post of a regular DGP.

The state administration approached the SC to pre-empt the contempt proceedings against it, but it seems to have “violated the SC guidelines to remove DGP Shesh Paul Vaid before his minimum two-year tenure got over and appointing interim a police chief, superseding seniors.”
What was the tearing hurry to remove Vaid close to midnight on September 6 is not known to date, who as per the SC guidelines should have been in the post for at least two years. Had some situation arisen that necessitated his exit from the post in the dead of night, and, if it so, it should be made known to the apex court.

“There are specific provisions for removing the DGP before the completion of the minimum two-year tenure and it can be done provided certain criteria are met. Sadly, none of the criteria met the situation,” said a senior officer wishing not to be named. “There were no criminal and corruption charges against Vaid. No one knows why he was removed,” he added.

What is more surprising is the line that the administration has adopted in the SC that it had to appoint an interim DGP because of the situation in the state where the DGP’s post could not have been kept vacant even for a minute. It would have earned merit, had it been explained that why such a decision was taken and on what grounds.

Then, the question that arises is that which criterion was adopted to appoint Dilbag as the interim DGP. What made him outstanding among his seniors and peers too should have been explained. Dilbag, a 1987 batch officer superseded at least four other senior officers — DR Dole, Navin Agarwal, VK Singh and SM Sahai. After Dilbag was appointed, VK Singh went on “protest leave.”

“The SC has decided to hear the application moved by the state and it is up to the top court whether it agrees with the plea or thinks the administration’s decision amounts to contempt of its guidelines,” said a senior lawyer.

With the move, the claims of transparency and accountability have been clouded. The J&K administration must also answer why it did not appoint a regular DGP even if Dilbag was its choice.

Unanswered questions

  • The reason behind the removal of former DGP SP Vaid is still not known
  • As per the SC guidelines, the DGP should have completed minimum two-year term but Vaid was removed before its completion
  • There are specific criteria, such as corruption charges and criminal case, for removing a DGP before the completion of the minimum two-year tenure but there was no such situation

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