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Dilli Ka Babu: Getting ahead

Published Sep 6, 2015, 11:51 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 10:32 pm IST
The possibilities are many at this stage of the game and so grows the speculation
B S Bassi Delhi Police Commissioner (Photo: PTI)
 B S Bassi Delhi Police Commissioner (Photo: PTI)

Getting ahead: Although no cakewalk, being Dilli’s police commissioner is easily one of the most hotly contested positions in the police service. Although the present incumbent B.S. Bassi has six more months to go as the capital’s top cop, the subterranean struggle to replace him is well under way, say sources. Mr Bassi reportedly has already started hinting at a post-retirement job, opening the door for those trying to supplant him.

Though early days yet, among the front-runners are two Indian Police Service officers, Alok Kumar Verma and Dharmendra Kumar, though punters are also mentioning Mr Kumar’s batchmate Deepak Mishra as a rather strong contender. Interestingly, the seniormost officer in Delhi Police, Vimla Mehra, is not in contention since she is retiring on the same day as Mr Bassi.

 

Of course, it is possible that the government may look beyond the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory-cadre and rope in someone from another state. It’s happened before, in 1999, when Uttar Pradesh-cadre cop Ajai Raj Sharma was brought in by the then National Democratic Alliance government to head Delhi Police. The possibilities are many at this stage of the game and so grows the speculation on what will transpire in the lead-up to the actual announcement.

Between the lines: Last week’s massive rejig of senior bureaucracy was the biggest so far by the Modi sarkar. It was aimed to fill vacancies of additional secretaries and joint secretaries arisen due to retirements and to replace officers seeking voluntary repatriation to their parent cadres. However, it was overshadowed by the exit of low-key and punctilious home secretary L.C. Goyal whose surprise replacement was Rajiv Mehrishi. Mr Goyal’s sudden exit is seen by some as being similar in speed only to his predecessor Anil Goswami whose tenure too was curtailed, but for vastly different reasons, of course.

Although Mr Goyal is said to have opted for voluntary retirement, sources say he fell afoul of the powers that be, by changing portfolios of senior officials in the ministry without the knowledge of his political masters. That was his undoing. However, the appointment of Mr Mehrishi on the day Mr Goyal was to have retired signifies that the Modi sarkar has great expectations from him. Interestingly, among the 35 officers reshuffled is additional secretary Anant Kumar Singh, an Indian Administrative Service officer of the Uttar Pradesh-cadre, who has been shifted to the petroleum ministry. A close confidante of home minister Rajnath Singh, he was reportedly engaged in a continuous tussle with Mr Goyal. With Mr Goyal out and the trusted Mr Mehrishi in, hopefully the dust will settle down.

Hasty transfers: Election time is stressful not just for politicians involved in the fray but also the bureaucracy. It is poll season in Bihar and the state bureaucracy is in churn, with babus being transferred frequently and often without adequate notice or explanation. Though this sort of thing is expected at this time, there is, at least, one such transfer that has riled babus in the Nitish Kumar administration.

The recent transfer of the district magistrate of Patna, Pratima Satish Kumar Verma, after a mere 26 days in the post has upset many of her colleagues in the country. Apparently, hers is the shortest stint ever of a district magistrate in the state capital where such disruptions are not seen as unusual. Though upset and “demoralised”, babus expect this state of affairs to continue until the moral code of conduct comes into play, when the government will have to kowtow to the Election Commission until the results are announced. Of course, the “musical chairs” will resume after the new government takes over.

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