No move to appoint Punjab officer as Himachal DGP: Virbhadra Singh

Shimla, July 4 (IANS) Putting an end to speculations that Himachal Pradesh is appointing a Punjab officer as its police chief, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Thursday rubbished all claims that the state is getting in touch with the Punjab government.

"I have yet to take any decision (on the appointment of the new director general of police)," Virbhadra Singh told reporters here.

"Why should I write a letter to Punjab, Haryana or any other state," the chief minister said when questioned about his purported letter to Punjab for sending an officer on deputation to the state.

The state's Director General of Police B. Kamal Kumar, a 1982-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, is retiring July 31.

Official sources said Kumar is not keen on getting any extension after his superannuation and that he has already informed top government functionaries in this regard.

Virbhadra Singh's assertion is significant in the context that there were reports that the state has sent a request to Punjab seeking its approval for the inter-state cadre deputation of S.K. Sharma, a 1983-batch IPS officer from Punjab.

The reports also claimed that none of the three senior-most Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in the hill state fulfils the mandatory 30 years of service for the post.

"We have a number of other options. Why should we take somebody from outside the state," asked the chief minister.

Sharma is currently posted as additional director general, human resource development, training and community policing, in Punjab.

The three senior-most officers in the race to the top post are Somesh Goyal, Sanjay Kumar and S.R. Mardi.

I.D. Bhandari, who is currently posted as DGP, home guards and fire services, is the senior-most in the IPS cadre.

But he was unceremoniously removed from the top post in February. He was heading the crime and investigation department (CID) when illegal phone tapping took place during the previous BJP regime.

Goyal, the senior-most among the three IPS officers after Bhandari, is on deputation with the Sashastra Seema Bal, while Sanjay Kumar is on deputation with the Indian Railways and Mardi is serving as additional director general of police, CID.

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