Dilli Ka Babu: IPS wars in UP

Now the cry has gone out that the Yogi Adityanath government should institute a CBI probe into the transfer-posting racket.

Update: 2020-01-11 20:33 GMT
Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

A rather ugly war has broken out in the higher echelons of the UP police. Senior IPS officer and Noida police chief Vaibhav Krishna has alleged murky dealings in the transfer and posting of police officers in the state. In a written complaint to the director-general of police and state home secretary, Mr Krishna claimed that huge sums of money exchanged hands in the transfer and postings of SHOs and district police chiefs in the state.

Expectedly, this has set off a furore among the cops. A few months back, the Noida police had arrested three journalists and some others who, it was alleged, used to facilitate transfers and postings in exchange for huge sums of money. It was also alleged that these “journos” were conduits for some senior police officers.

Curiously, Mr Krishna himself has been controversial for some alleged “sex chat” videos that went viral. He has accused IPS officers who bore a grudge against him for trying to tarnish his image.

Now the cry has gone out that the Yogi Adityanath government should institute a CBI probe into the transfer-posting racket.

Air India blues
The recent roadshows held in Singapore and London to gauge investor interest in the debt-ridden national carrier Air India have received a lukewarm response.
But it is unlikely to change the government’s plan to privatise the airline. Union minister for civil aviation Hardeep Puri remains optimistic even though similar efforts in 2018, when the government offered to sell a 76 per cent stake in the airline, met with a similar fate.

In the meantime, Air India chairman and managing director, Ashwini Lohani, surprisingly, took to Facebook to remind us that the airline needs to survive until it is sold. Mr Lohani is a trusted public servant who has been working on initiatives to narrow down the carrier’s staggering debt. A former railway board chairman and now in his second stint as Air India chief, Mr Lohani has often used social media platforms to connect with employees as well as the public. In the post, Mr Lohani said that expecting a radical turnaround would be impractical. But the message is clear: Selling the carrier is the only way it can survive.

MEA movements
The appointment of Harsh Vardhan Shringla as India’s new foreign secretary precedes other changes in the ministry of external affairs (MEA). There are many vacancies in India’s foreign missions and some key ones that will be up for grabs in 2020. These appointments were on hold while the government took its time to announce Mr Shringla’s name. Now, sources, say, the decks have been cleared for other appointments.

In the coming months, top positions in London, Washington, Kathmandu, Colombo, Ankara and the permanent mission of India in New York will become vacant due to the respective envoys completing their tenures or retiring from service. Both Pakistan and Canada are without envoys; Ajay Bisaria was sent back by Islamabad and Vikas Swarup is back in the MEA.

Interestingly, Mr Shringla caps a sterling career and will be superseding three foreign service officers: Ruchi Ghanashyam (1982), who is currently the Indian high commissioner to the UK, Rajeev Chander (1983), the Indian envoy to the permanent mission of India to the UN in Geneva, and Amita Nair (1983), who is India’s ambassador to Chile.

Mr Shringla will take over for his fixed two-year tenure after Vijay Gokhale retires next month and has a big job cut out for him.

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