Chandigarh: Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, an Inspector General (IG) rank officer in Punjab Police, Friday claimed that he has convinced Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to accept his resignation.
The 1998-batch IPS officer, who was investigating the 2015 Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan police firing in the wake of desecration incidents, resigned last week seeking voluntary retirement after adverse comments from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was originally set to retire in 2029.
On Tuesday, the CM “rejected” the IPS officer’s request saying that his government needed the services of a “capable and efficient” policeman like him.
However, speaking to ThePrint Friday, Singh said, “I had a subsequent meeting with the CM and I have convinced him.”
Earlier in the day, Singh had a meeting with Punjab Governor V.P.S. Badnore in Chandigarh. After the meeting, Singh told reporters, “The chief minister tried to convince me, but I was able to convince him…” He added that met the governor every month in his private capacity and too much should not be read into his latest meeting.
Singh’s retirement decision came after the Punjab and Haryana HC quashed his probe into the 2015 cases last week and asked for the reconstitution of another Special Investigation Team (SIT) without him. The court was hearing a petition of one of the accused, who had alleged that Singh was conducting a partial and “politically motivated” investigation.
Singh told ThePrint, “I will keep assisting in the investigation as required even if I am not in service.”
Submitting his request to be relieved from the service from 15 April, Singh had sought a waiver on the three-month notice period. His request was forwarded by the Director General of Police to the CM.
On Wednesday, Singh wrote on his Facebook page that he had “no regret”, adding that “each and every sentence” of his report and charge sheet is “evidence in itself”. He requested the issue to not be politicised.
Singh, who hails from Bihar, has stayed in headlines over the last two decades, starting with the busting of the infamous kidney scam in 2002 as Superintendent of Police (City), Amritsar. The next year he was entrusted to probe the Amritsar sex scam involving senior police officers and judges.
The 50-year-old officer has served as a senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amritsar, SSP Ferozepur, SSP Gurdaspur and SSP Batala. He was among the first senior officers in the police to train himself as a cyber crime expert. He set up the Cyber Crime Cell of Punjab Police in Mohali as its founder SSP.
He also investigated the sedition case against Sikh hardliners who organised the November 2015 Sarbat Khalsa in wake of desecration incidents. He was also in the thick of things as Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Border, when the Pathankot terror attack took place in January 2016.
Fight within ranks
However, Singh has also been at loggerheads with many of his colleagues. He raked a major controversy as Ferozepur SSP in 2004, when he took on DIG Hardish Singh Randhawa over filing a case against him.
Singh also battled with BJP leader Anil Joshi as Amritsar SSP in 2009. Joshi even sat on a dharna to demand his transfer from the Akali-BJP government.
In 2019, he was transferred as IG crime Punjab following a complaint by the Akalis to the Election Commission.
The officers he was reporting to who were part of the SIT probing the 2015 police firing, refused to agree with him on many aspects of the case, and wrote to the DGP against him.
Many officers who have worked with Singh say he is a headline hunter and demonstrative. Others criticise him for his inability to assess a situation from any viewpoint except his own.
“He cannot tolerate being questioned. Any attempt made by anyone is seen as a conspiracy by him. For him, it is either you agree with him completely on everything or you are mixed with the crooks,” said a senior police officer who didn’t wish to be named.
Singh has also continuously sought to keep educating himself, a look through personal blog indicates. A postgraduate in Sanskrit from the Patna University, he went on to do an LLB from Panjab University Chandigarh, an MBA from Indira Gandhi National Open University and a PhD in Human Rights of Prisoners from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He also has an advanced diploma in French.
He has authored several books on cybercrime investigation, the Right to Information and even on the universal teachings of Saint Kabir. People close to him swear by his knowledge of the Sikh scriptures, especially the life and works of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.
In the middle of the lockdown last year, Singh began teaching mathematics online to help students who were at home, according to his blog.
Sources in the police added that Singh harbours political ambitions and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he turns up as a candidate in the 2022 Punjab assembly election. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Jarnail Singh has already announced that his party needs officers like Singh.
Asked about joining politics in the future, Singh told ThePrint, “No comments.”